Getting together with my sisters was a grand time. We've been through a lot together. The tattling phase, the biting phase (although who bears the scar and who did the biting does not need to be shared at this time - OK, OK, it was me!), the hormonal teen phase, the dating phase, the new bride phase, the new mommy phase, and now the older, wiser phase where we're much more tolerant of each other, enjoy each other's company more, and can't remember any of the stories the others tell from the earlier phases.
We regaled each other with remembrances of times gone by and laughed at how the memories were never the same. And while we talked we baked. We're really different people, but we worked well together. The middle sister is much more Martha than me. Everything gets done on time and looks beautiful. My oldest sister, since marrying a Brit, is rockin' a Nigella thing. And I, well, I'm the one who makes cookies from curdled frosting.
One of the first things we made was cookies for my nephew to take to church. We picked a recipe from Baking, since Dorie is so reliable. With three people to help, it was a snap and the cookies turned out beautifully. Moist, just the right balance of molasses and spices. I'd recommend you try them. Preferably with people you love.
Sugar-Topped Molasses Spice Cookies
- adapted from Baking by Dorie Greenspan
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
Pinch of coarsely ground black pepper
1-1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
1 large egg
About 1/2 cup sugar, for rolling
1- In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and pepper. Set aside.
2- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and molasses and beat for 2 minutes or so to blend, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the egg and beat for 1 minute more. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing until the flour and spices disappear. If some flour remains in the bottom of the bowl, to avoid overbeating the dough, mix in the last of the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula. You'll have a smooth, very soft dough.
3- Divide the dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Freeze for 30 minutes, or refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.)
4- Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
5- Put the 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl. Working with one packet of dough at a time, divide it into 12 pieces and roll each piece into a smooth ball. One by one, roll the balls in the sugar, then place them on the baking sheets. Dip the bottom of a glass into the sugar and use it to press down on the cookies until they are 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick.
6- Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the tops feel set to the touch. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the cookies to a rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough.