When I think of winter, I think of dark, spongy gingerbread cookies–not too sugary and very spicy. My favorite recipe comes from Tartine Bakery, home of the killer croissants and long lines of famished Missionistas. These cookies are sweetened with dark molasses and spiced with freshly ground black pepper for extra kick.
They also make very pretty holiday gifts. Cut into squares and covered with a translucent glaze, they remind me of beautiful ceramic tiles from Italy. But fortunately they are much easier to make and they taste better, too. I make a ton of them every year.
The Tartine method calls for a fancy rolling pin to press shapes into the gingerbread, but I like to just use any pretty thing I can find. The fluted edge of a cordial glass works well, or a clean, freshly washed sea shell. Any food-safe, sterilized trinket with an interesting shape will do.
And so, without further ado, the cookie recipe:
3 3/4 cups flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
4 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granualted sugar
1/2 cup dark molassas
Stir together dry ingredients. In another bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg, then molasses. When the wet ingredients are well combined, add them to the dry ingredients. Make the dough into a slab, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it overnight.
The next day, roll it out to about 1/3 inch thick. cut it into a aquare, press shapes into it, and bake it at 350 degrees for 7 to 15 minutes, until the sides are crisp but the centers are still soft. Let it cool, then glaze it.
1 cup confections sugar
2 tbsp water
Whisk it. Then spread a thin layer on your cookies. Let it dry, cut them up and give them away.
You can find more recipes in Oakland North’s Community Cookbook.