Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies

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You know you got dressed for work at 3:30 a.m. when you get home from your shift and realize your underwear is both inside out and backwards.

I’ve been baking professionally for a month now at a sweet bakery a couple blocks from my house. This morning I was daydreaming of my head hitting the yellow polka dotted pillow on my bed and accidentally burned the lemon scones. Not terribly, just in an over-caramelized singed way.

The other day I made these cookies to then make them into a crust for a pumpkin cheesecake. I hadn’t made cheesecake in years and regretfully didn’t let the cream cheese come to room temperature, resulting in a lumpy cake. In my defense, I had to expedite the process; I was eating the would-be crust cookies at an impossibly high rate. Though the cheesecake wasn’t worthy of posting, these have become my favorite cookies.

Makes 40 cookies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 teaspoons peel and grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • About 1/2 cup of turbinado sugar for rolling

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice and cloves.

In a standing mixer with a paddle attachment (or a hand mixer), beat the butter and white sugar together until it is light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Scrap down the sides of the bowl and add the egg, fresh ginger and molasses. Turn the mixer to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until combined.

Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least an hour. When you’re ready to bake them, heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Roll the dough into ball about an inch in diameter (I vary them in size every time I make these and they turn out). Roll in turbinado sugar and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Bake in several batches for at least 7 minutes. If I make them bigger in size I have to bake them for up to 12 minutes. Set a timer for 7 and then go from there. Remove them from the oven. Let cool for 2-3 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack. This will allow them to firm up. Repeat.

 

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Ginger Peach Pie Filling

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I said goodbye to Bellingham, my home of four years, in mid July.

I first drove to Missoula, Montana for a visit. Of course, this also involved the usual eating tour: A slice, or several, from Biga Pizza, a raspberry cream cheese filled croissant from Bernice’s and a creamy scoop of maple walnut ice cream from Big Dipper.

Before I knew it I was getting dropped off at the Seatac Airport and heading to New York. 36 hours and two snack vouchers later, thanks to an infamous airline, I arrived in the tiny town of Rensselaerville for the month-long Longhouse Food Scholars program founded by food writer and author Molly O’Neill.

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I came with the normal amount of nerves, but as soon as we were asked to introduce ourselves by saying our name and favorite food, I knew it was going to be okay. Someone would say, “Pie” and everyone in the room would swoon before telling us about their favorite pie. It took over an hour to get through 10 people. Food enthusiasts? I think so.

This recipe for ginger peach filling comes from pie extraordinaire Kate Lebo of Seattle. I emailed her frantically before Julie’s birthday in July to get a recipe. We all loved the filling, which was sweet and slightly spicy from the ginger and cayenne. I’m not including a crust recipe quite yet because the whole wheat one I used was not right.

Makes 1 pie/Filling adapted from Kate Lebo

Ingredients

  • 5 medium or 7 large ripe peaches
  • 1/2 cup clover honey
  • 2 tablespoons peeled, chopped fresh ginger
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • pinch of cayenne
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • turbinado sugar
  • double crust pie dough

Combine honey and chopped ginger in a saucepan over low heat for 20 minutes.

Preaheat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove your bottom dough from the fridge, and roll it in a circle out to fill your pie pan. Make sure it is pressed down gently into the pan. Cut off any excess overhang. Poke a fork into the bottom crust a few times. Bake for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Boil the peaches for about 4 minutes. Then immediately put them into an ice bath. After a few minutes in the ice bath, they will be really easy to peel with your fingers. Pit and slice the peaches so they are 1/4 inch think or so.

Put the slices in a bowl and squeeze the lemon over them. Add the powdered ginger, cayenne, nutmeg and salt. Pour the honey mixture over it and toss. Adjust for flavor as needed. Perhaps you like it sweeter or spicier. Sprinkle the tapioca flour over it and toss again.

Roll out the top crust. Pour the filling into the bottom crust. If a lot of liquid has accumulated in the bowl, you can leave some of it out. Place the top crust over the filling, and seal the edges decoratively if you’d like. Cut steam vents with a knife in the center of the pie.

In a small bowl, mix the egg white and 1 teaspoon of water. Brush the whole pie with the mixture. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the top.

Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes on a sheet pan, until the crust is “blistered and blond.” Rotate the pie 180 degrees on the pan to ensure even cooking, and lower the temperature to 375. Bake for 50-60 minutes until the top is golden and the juices start to bubble. This will take longer if the fruit is frozen.

Cool on a wire rack before serving.