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gingercreams7_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

I’ve never an actual copy of Farm Journal magazine, but I LOVE their cookbooks and whenever I find them in antique stores I buy them. This recipe is based on one from their Homemade Cookies cookbook, and if you can imagine a Lofthouse molasses cookie this would be it. They are big, soft and while there is a lot of molasses in them the flavor is more mild than a traditional molasses cookie.

The whiteness of the icing starts to fade after a few days, just FYI. I made a few changes to the original recipe, including the addition of fresh ginger. They are amazing with a glass of cold milk or a cup of hot tea. They also cut out beautifully, and would make beautiful hearts if your Valentine is a fan of molasses cookies.

Ginger Creams, Makes about 40 3″ cookies

  • 1 c. butter, at room temp
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. dark molasses
  • 1 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T. fresh ginger
  • 1 T. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 5 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. salt

Icing

  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 t. white vanilla
  • 1 t. water

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Cream until light and fluffy.

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Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vinegar, ginger and molasses.

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Beat in 4-1/2 c. flour, the baking soda, baking powder and salt.

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You should have a pretty brown dough. At this point you can chill it for 30 minutes if you like.

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Generously flour a work surface and roll out a portion of the dough. Cut out your shapes and put them on a lightly greased baking sheet.

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Bake for about 12 minutes, until the edges are lightly brown. Repeat, roll out and bake the rest of the dough.

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Stir together the icing ingredients. Add a bit more water if necessary, to achieve a spreadable consistency. Ice each cookie with a thin layer. Let the cookies sit out until the icing is dry.

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These cookies, when iced, are best within three days. Freeze uniced cookies in an airtight container for longer storage.


Three years ago: Meatloaf Sandwiches – The Lazy Cook’s Super Bowl Sunday
Two years ago: Grandma’s Chocolate Cookies
One year ago: Salted Butterscotch Pots de Creme


lebkuchen8_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

These cookies have been on my “to-do” baking list for a long time, for many reasons. My grandmother’s family left Bavaria for this country in 1752, and I like to think of my Shaull ancestors having these cookies at the holidays. Also, they’re so interesting from the standpoint of culinary history.

Long sacred, from the year 1000 to the 1500s the universal craving for exotic spices from the lands of paradise drove the movement around the globe. By the 1400s there were spice inspectors at the gates of Nuremberg making sure only the highest quality crossed into the city, and even English families were eating their way through seventeen pounds of ginger a year.

Another cool thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t have any shortening, butter or white sugar. Instead, it uses honey, and honeycakes trace their origins back to Greece (2400 BC). Later they were a favorite of King Tut as well.

As the dark dreary days blend into each other it’s a lovely thing to go out, buy some fresh spices and fill the house the scent of paradise to ward off the spirits of darkness – spices are as restorative now as ever! Traditionally these cookies are often glazed on top with a simple icing. I’ve opted to coat the bottoms with chocolate instead.

Lebkuchen, Makes about 36 3″ cookies
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. molasses
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. lemon zest
2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground cloves
1 t. ground allspice
1/3 cup ground hazelnuts
1/2 t. ground coriander

Note: You can add 1 t. nutmeg as well if you like.

Chocolate coating: 1/2 package Ghiradelli dark melting wafers & 3 oz. Ghiradelli Midnight dark chocolate

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To make the cookies: Warm the molasses and honey together in the microwave for one minute.

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Pour it into a mixing bowl with the egg, brown sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest.

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Stir in the rest of the ingredients well.

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At this point you can wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight. However, I rarely have that kind of time so I just keep going. Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly flour your work surface. Turn out half of the dough and roll it out to 1/4″ thick.

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Put the cookies on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, until puffed and barely brown at the edges.

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Completely cool the cookies on a rack. To make the chocolate glaze, break the chocolate bar into pieces and combine it in a bowl with the melting wafers. Microwave for one minute, then stir. Microwave for another 30 seconds, and stir until smooth.

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Spread the bottom of each cookie with the glaze.

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Let the cookies sit while the glaze sets up. After the chocolate hardens, store the cookies in plastic bags, separating the layers with sheets of waxed paper. Add a cut slice of apple or a piece of bread and let them rest for two days. This will soften them slightly while the flavors blend.

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Two years ago: Ginger Thins (Pepparkakor)
One year ago: Fruitcake 2.0

lemongingercake13_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

Saskatoon berries are native to the north-northwestern part of the US and Canada, but they are starting to find their way across other temperate areas of the country. Our first u-pick farm opened about three years ago. Saskatoon berries are also called serviceberries, pigeon berries and western juneberries. A major ingredient in pemmican, they are somewhat blueberry-like but more substantial.

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A candidate for the next superfruit, they are high in fiber, manganese and riboflavin. They are also, coincidentally, quite tasty. In this cake I’ve paired them with lemon, fresh ginger and tart lemon glaze. If saskatoon berries are not available in your area, you could sub in any smallish tartish berry like raspberries, blackberries or even cranberries I suppose as long as you adjust the sugar accordingly. As you will see I stirred this all up in the saucepan because if I get a chance to not a wash a dish I take it.

Lemon Ginger Cake with Saskatoon Berries, Makes one 8″ square cake

  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 T. fresh ground ginger
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. quick-cooking oatmeal
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/3 c. greek yogurt
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 c. powdered sugar

Combine the butter, sugar, lemon zest and ginger. Preheat the oven to 350.

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Stir in the oatmeal and baking powder, then the eggs and vanilla.

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Combine the yogurt and milk, measure the flour and set it aside. Alternate adding the milk and the flour in 1 cup increments, stirring well after each addition. You should have a thick, creamy batter.

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Carefully fold in the saskatoon berries with a spatula.

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Spread the batter into a greased 8″ square baking pan.

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Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the center is firm and the top is golden brown.

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Stir together the lemon juice and powdered sugar, add more sugar if necessary to get a thick glaze. (Sorry about the spoon, I was chasing daylight.)

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Spread the glaze on the warm cake. It will spread out and make little pools along the edge. They’re a reward for people who take the corner pieces.

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This cake is moist, fluffy and delicious. If your house is warm this time of the year you may want to refrigerate it. It’s fine to leave it out at 70 or below.

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It also cuts into neat, pretty squares.

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One year ago: Mustard Roasted Potatoes and Strawberry Salad

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by Heather Harris-Brady

Sorry I missed the weekend’s post kids, we have a computer virus issue going on!

It’s a sad fact that my life has reached the point where eating cake everyday has progressed from merely ill-advised to a very Bad Idea. In light of that condition, I have to trick myself with other cake-like things – like these ginger carrot muffins. They have nearly all the ingredients of a carrot cake, but all of the healthy fixin’s you can pack in a muffin. Try not to be jealous of my awesome manicure.

Carrot cake was pretty popular when I did wedding cakes, and it’s always been a favorite of mine. You can either precook the carrots or grate them. I also added some coconut flakes and chopped walnuts.

Fresh Ginger Carrot Muffins (Double batch of 18 muffins)

1-1/3 c. cooked, roughly mashed carrots

3/4 c. olive oil

2 whole eggs

2 egg whites

3/4 c. brown sugar

1/3 c. white sugar

1 T. molasses

2 T. fresh ginger, grated (I know it sounds like a lot, but it gives a nice kick.)

1/2 c. milled golden flax seed

1/2 c. coconut flakes

1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans

1/3 c. wheat germ

1-1/2 c. unbleached white flour

1 c. spelt flour

1 t. baking powder

1 t. baking soda

1/2 batch 1-2-3-4 Streusel if desired

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Combine all of the wet ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Preheat the oven to 350.

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Add the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

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Scoop the mixture into greased muffin cups. Top with streusel if you’re using it.

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Bake for 15-20 minutes, until browned.

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These are delicious warm on their own with butter, but they would be awesome with some pineapple cream cheese too. Wrap them lightly, they will stay nice and moist for five days.

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Okay, we’re going to kick it into high-gear here ’cause time’s a wastin’! These gingerbread thins are VERY similar to the ones you can find in the blue Swedish tins. They are super spicy with a nice snap and very crunchy, just the thing for a cup of tea and a great gift for those strange beings who are not fond of chocolate. The sea salt accentuates the spices and the crunch.

I know this probably seems like a lot of ginger, but it really sets them apart.

Gingerbread Thins, Makes about 8 dozen
1 c. softened butter
1-1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 T. grated orange peel
2 T. molasses
1 T. water
3-1/4 c. flour
2 t. baking soda
2 t. cinnamon
2 heaping t. fresh grated ginger
1/2 t. cardamom
Sea salt, for sprinking

Cream the butter and sugar, add the egg, molasses and water. Beat in the dry ingredients and the spices.

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Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly flour a work surface. Roll out a portion of the dough as thin as you can get it. Cut into rounds or other shapes a desired.

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Sprinkle the cut shapes with a little bit of sea salt.

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Bake for about 10 minutes. The cookies will puff up, then fall and darken nicely.

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Remove to racks to cool, the cookies will continue to crisp up. Store in ziplock bags or thins. The flavor will continue to improve. These are especially pretty stacked in clear bags.

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