I didn’t “make up” the original recipe for these cookies, but because I simply cannot cook anything as written these change up each and every time I bake them. They are consistently great no matter what I’ve tweaked because of mood, ingredient availability, inspiration, general laziness… So I’m posting it in here.
Also because Heather asked for the recipe
This is what I put in the last batch, I’ll put some options & hints the end.
But first a cookie secret:
Like many cookies, these get better if you make the dough overnight-36 hours ahead of time. There now my secret is out, I make the dough, saran wrap the bowl & leave it in the fridge til I have time to bake. The sugars & spices marry together with the butter = magic.
Makes about 3 dozen
375° & rack in middle position
(2) cookie sheets w/parchment paper
1/2 C mix of ginger sugar, turbinado & superfine sugars in a flat bowl for rolling
2-1/4 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp chinese 5 spice
1/4 tsp cardamon
3/4 C softened butter (1-1/2 sticks)
1/3 C sugar
1/3 C dark brown sugar (packed)
1 large egg yolk
1-1/2 tsp bourbon vanilla
1/2 C dark molasses
Whisk the flour, soda, salt, pepper & spices and set aside.
Beat butter and sugars on med speed until light & fluffy, about 5 min. Beat in vanilla & yolk until combined, beat in molasses, about 30 sec each addition, scraping bowl & beaters as needed.
Add flour mixture and beat on low until combined, about another 30 seconds, it will be a soft & sticky dough. At this point I scrape the dough into a lump in the bowl, cover & put in fridge til later. That’s not necessary, you can go straight to baking at this point.
Wet hands with cold water and roll rounded tablespoons of dough into balls, then roll balls in the sugar mixture to coat. Place about 2″ apart on the parchment, these will spread out.
Bake 1 cookie sheet at a time until edges are set but the centers are still soft & underdone 10-12 min. Don’t overcook!!! Let them set on sheet another 10 min. they will flatten, crack and wrinkle with a crispy outside & chewy middle. Transfer to rack to cool if you can wait, or eat warm.
I’ve used regular ol’ granulated, superfine, turbinado, demerara, ginger sugar or orange sugar.
I’ve used fresh grated ginger or orange zest in the dough sugar. Also varied spices and amounts. Include? curry powder, nutmeg, chai spice, chili powder, pumpkin spice, different types of vanilla, and substituted rum for part of vanilla.
Glaze cooled cookies with rum & powdered sugar.
Do not use margarine instead of butter. It won’t work.
I stumbled across this made-up-food style non-recipe on Wonkette (careful, it’s an irreverent & sometimes potty mouth blog) that has all the hallmarks of Made Up Food – unpretentious, simple, easy and what sounds like gourmet level delicious. So – check out the full post or get the highlights in the heavily excerpted portion below.
There are many recipes you can find “on the Internet” for fresh cranberry sauce, but you don’t need to do that anymore. Just send this one to your xBox or whatever and be DONE, done with the search for the ideal cranberry relish recipe.
THE THINGS YOU NEED:
When you’re at the store, get two sacks of fresh cranberries from the produce section. They are like, a pound each. This will be plenty for eight or so people. Did your relatives refuse to use any kind of birth control, producing a larger family of say, 16 people? Just double the recipe, meaning buy two of whatever, and use twice as much, in the recipe. And “double the recipe” does not mean set the oven to 700 degrees instead of 350. Jesus.
If for some reason you don’t have some basic cane sugar and a decent bottle of bourbon at home, purchase these things in whatever respectable quantity, so next time (Friday morning) you’ll have this stuff handy.
Oranges. Buy some of them.
NOW: Either right now or tomorrow or 30 minutes before carving time — IT DOES NOT MATTER — you wash the cranberries. (The thing that looks like a ’50s space helmet, it is called the colander, fill it with the cranberries and put it under the cold faucet).
Dump said berries in the Pyrex baking dish, like the one people might use for lasagna or baked manicotti. (This is a good time to remove whatever weird stuff the Stephen King characters who pick cranberries might’ve dropped in the bucket: loose teeth, etc.) Get the cheese grater and just grate on some sad-but-firm orange, right on the peel, so that the little bits of orange peel fall down upon the lonely berries. It is fine if some bigger chunks — like, half-inch-long shreds, but no bigger than that — fall down there, too. It adds “color” … orange color, in fact. Do this until you’re tired of doing it, at which point there’s probably about three teaspoons’ worth of orange “zest” in the pyrex, with the cranberries. Don’t pick it out and measure it or anything, just show some confidence. For once.
Cut open that poor orange you’ve just Gitmo’d, and squeeze the juice into your cranberry business. Do not drop the orange seeds in there, come on.
Now drizzle a couple-five shots of bourbon on the berries. And sprinkle about half a cup of granulated cane sugar over all that. (Generally, cranberry relish recipes call for some insane amount of sugar, like three cups. Do not ruin everything, okay? Using not-so-much sugar produces a tart but still sweet-enough relish that is to be served with savory dishes like turkey and dressing, right? If you want to put this on a peanut butter sandwich, by all means use fifteen cups of sugar and chase it with an “energy drink” or whatever. Let freedom reign.)
Cover the baking dish with foil and put it in the oven. Doesn’t really matter, whatever the oven is set to, which is going to be in the 300-425 range for your general Thanksgiving dishes crowding the oven. You also don’t need to be a dick and start yelling about how somebody needs to move the mac-and-cheese or the brussels sprouts under the broiler (and you SHOULD have simple cut-in-half olive-oil-brushed brussels sprouts under the broiler!) because you must get in your cranberry relish. Anytime is fine, and plus who will be impressed if you keep talking about it, beforehand? They might notice how easy it is to make, and then who are you? You are basically Lou Dobbs. So go outside and yell at a Mexican.
Come back inside, and please wash your hands if you were smoking out there, and see what is going on. Are people tense? It is probably time to open a bottle of wine, go ahead and pass around maybe a Petite Syrah, something that will go with maybe some pita chips or apple slices, whatever, try to get people to relax. It is okay to have “Irish Coffees,” too, because it’s daytime.
When the cranberry business is bubbly and the berries have this nice soft-but-firm kind of thing going on, take out the pyrex and let it cool somewhere out of the way. If there’s room in the fridge, you can just put the tray in there once it’s cool to the touch. But there’s no room, jesus just look at all the food in there, plus there are about a million beers for tomorrow, so just scrape it all into something pretty, some kind of thing you might put chutney in, or whatever (ask mom).
Serve and watch how people say, “OMG I only ever had it from a can,” etc.
Read more at Wonkette: How To Make Wonkette’s Actual Awesome Real Cranberry Business
(photo from Flickr creative commons courtesy halfchinese – with Andrew Yee’s own yummy recipe there too)