Oh, Cookies!

The reason I’ve grown up (besides biological predisposition) is to make cookies whenever I want to. Christmas? Of course! But how about Friday afternoon, or Thursday night, or Monday morning? All excellent times for cookies. If you’ve hung out with me, chances are, you’ve had some cookies.

 

One of my four favorite seasons for cookies is summer. It’s ideal because of three words: ice cream sandwiches. When I was pregnant with K-Pants I stalked the Jacques Torres Chocolate shop, which has possibly the best ice cream sandwich in the world. (Photo at right.)

It was the hot end of May: clear ice cream sandwich time. And I was ready: very pregnant and very ready. Memorial Day came and passed, but no sandwiches. Just a sign in the window that said, “They’re coming!”

Two days before K-Pants was born, I stormed in with my raging hormones and my friend Lila and demanded a sandwich. Where were they? Tears started to form.

No sandwiches.

This desperation, however, begot one of the best gifts of my life: a personal hospital-room delivery of two giant Jacques ice cream sandwiches from my dear friend Hope. She is forever enshrined in the Friends Wall of Fame. (Without the delight of the ice cream sandwich, K-Pants had to fall back on Rachel Ray’s bacon-wrapped shrimp to start labor.)

So here we are in mid-September, and I cannot deny it’s the bitter end of ice cream sandwich season. I’m paying tribute by making my favorite ice cream sandwich cookie: Ginger Thins from The Joy of Cooking.

Whereas other recipes make 4–6 dozen cookies, this one makes 400 on a good day. You can fill them with vanilla ice cream, or hazelnut, or chocolate, or butter pecan. A serving in our house is 10 ice cream sandwiches.

Here’s the recipe (courtesy of The Joy of Cooking, 1997 ed., p. 707). They can be made in 30 minutes. Ask K-Pants.

Ginger Thins

About Three Hundred ¾-Inch Wafers
“Mme. Bu Wei, in her charming book, How to Cook and Eat in Chinese, tells us that [these] little cakes…should have the diameter of a quarter when baked, for they toughen if they are larger.”
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cream:
¾ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 beaten egg
¼ cup molasses
Sift together:
1 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon each cloves, cinnamon and ginger (I like to really heap these in!)

Combine the above ingredients and stir until smooth.

Put dots of 1/8 teaspoon of dough 1 inch apart on a greased cookie sheet and bake 5 to 6 minutes. (I put the dough in an icing bag, or a Ziploc bag that you can cut a corner from, to pipe them out. It’s WAY easier. Also, baking 5 minutes is generally perfect, and you can bake two sheets at a time.)

Cool on a rack. Cookies snap off if you twist the sheet slightly. (Or they pop right off if you push them with a spatula into a colander, which will hold them more easily than a normal wire rack.)

Now, gobble them up!

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6 responses to “Oh, Cookies!

  1. Thanks for the tip about the Ziploc bag. This probably saves you from needing to chill the dough before handling. I love molasses cookies but don’t like the extra time needed between making, baking, and eating. Because really eating is the most important step…

    Also the recipe I have calls for more molasses and makes for a chewy (as opposed to crisp) cookie. The crisp is probably better for ice cream sandwiches.

    Finally, I use shortening in most of my cookie recipes (or half butter half shortening) because otherwise the cookies just don’t hold their shape. It definitely makes a big difference for things like chocolate chip cookies. Is this just because I cook at 6,000 feet, or have you noticed the flat cookie effect at sea level?

    • Hmmm… so I have a few ingredients that I always use in cookies: whole wheat flour, butter, and brown sugar. Even when I’m baking a recipe that calls for 1 cup white sugar, 1 cup brown, I use all brown. This is my self-decieving way of making everything “healthy.”

      This dough should never be refrigerated because the cookies are so small you really do pipe them out like icing.

      Do you refrigerate your drop cookie doughs?

  2. I am a lousy baker. That’s why I cultivate friends like you. “Feed me, Mama Pants! Feed me awl nat lowng – thass right, girl!” (Wiv apologies to Little Shop of Horrors…)

  3. I want cookies now! 😦

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