image © Charles Schutz
We started talking about the holidays though, and by the end of dinner we'd decided that not only would we get a tree, but we were going to chop it down ourselves and then bake cookies. A pretty ambitious plan considering we had no idea where to do this, nor do we own a mixer (I regrettably gave my Kitchen-Aid to the movers in a dramatic fit of house cleaning).
Ultimately we decided on ginger molasses cookies, and worked from this recipe...we upgraded a few ingredients and cooked a little less than called for. The ingredients used are strong and full of flavor, making these delicious cookies spicy and rich, and not overly sweet. Here is our (enhanced) version:
Spiced Ginger and Molasses Cookies
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup packed dark muscovado brown sugar *KEY (we used India Tree brand, found at whole foods)
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1/3 cup diced candied ginger *KEY (the candied ginger at the spice house is fresh and delicious on its own)
Granulated sugar for rolling
1. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, salt and cloves in a bowl and mix well.
2. Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer, around 3 minutes, until light and fluffy
3. Add egg and molasses. Mix to combine well. Stir in dry ingredients. Stir in candied ginger. Refrigerate batter 45 min
4. Preheat oven to 375 F. Roll dough into ~1" balls. Roll balls in granulated sugar. Arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and gently flatten. Bake 10 min and let cool.
Photos © Rex Waters
As far as that Christmas tree...after some research we realized that cutting one down was maybe just a little more than 2 (very) urban dwellers had bargained for. Instead we landed on buying a small 'christmas' plant that will live past the season and can hold the three ornaments we currently have...in the meantime, we'll be relying on Charlie Brown to keep it festive.