Ginger Spiced Molasses Cookies

Ginger Spiced Molasses Cookies

~ Ginger Spiced Molasses Cookies ~

We’ve waited until very late (for us) to get our Christmas tree this year. Normally it’s up in early December, and by time the 25th arrives, we light the candles in a last hurrah, before dismantling it the next day. This year is a little different. We harvested our tree only this past weekend, on Saturday evening in the dark. As we picked it out, it felt like we were back in Denmark, searching for a tree in the darkness of the nordic winter. We spent Sunday decorating and will continue to do so over the next few days – after all, everyone has to have their way with the decorations. Then on the 24th, we will light the tree in its full glory as we celebrate julaften or Christmas eve, when we eat our big holiday dinner. In true Scandinavian fashion we use live candles, and it’s truly the most beautiful sight to behold.

Since the tree is so fresh, it will remain standing for a good week after Christmas, which is perfect, since we are home for the holidays this year and look forward to friends stopping in for wine and gløgg.  In anticipation, I’ve made an extra large batch of these Ginger Molasses Spiced Cookies to have on hand for any last minute tree tweaking and unexpected guests who might surprise us. The spice of these cookies goes very well with a glass of warm spiced gløgg.

Ginger Spiced Molasses Cookies

I was honored that Food52 selected these cookies last week as their contribution to a virtual cookie swap, hosted by Food Network and Yahoo! Shine. And Alicia, the talent behind the delicious blog Weekly Greens, has featured this recipe in her Whole Foods Market Cooking Column. Christmas has indeed come early this year!

Makes about 42 (1 1/2 inch) cookies.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1/3 cup finely diced candied ginger, optional
Granulated sugar for rolling

Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, salt, and cloves in a bowl to combine.  Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and molasses and mix well.  Add the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Stir in the candied ginger. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Pour some granulated sugar into a small bowl. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, then in the sugar. Arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and gently flatten. Bake in oven until set and crinkled on top, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove and cool.

Coriander Spiced Pound Cake with Strawberries

Coriander Spiced Pound Cake with Strawberries

A while back I posted a recipe for an Orange Pound Cake perfumed with coriander, and I blamed it on the egg yolks. You see, I had 6 yolks in the refrigerator and felt compelled to use them up, so I came up with a recipe for an Orange Spiced Poundcake.

Well, now I can say that the Orange Spiced Poundcake made me do it. While the cake was pleasantly fresh with orange, it was elusively intriguing with its hint of coriander. I wanted more. So, in an eternal quest for perfection, I had another go at this cake. Instead of 6 yolks  and buttermilk, I used 3 whole eggs with whole milk, relying on a method by Rose Levy Beranbaum which I’ve used for years. Instead of orange juice, I simply added zest for brightness and stepped up the coriander note, not only in the cake batter, but in a syrup which I used to baste the cake. To top it off, I added strawberries to some of the left over syrup and left them to macerate while the cake cooled, before spooning them over slices of the cake. Fruity, spiced and light, this is a luscious springtime dessert which embraces the coriander spice and takes advantage of the season’s strawberries.

Coriander Spiced Pound Cake with Strawberries
Makes one loaf – approximately 8 servings

For the syrup:
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly toasted, finely ground

For the pound cake:
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 pound strawberries, hulled, quartered
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Orange zest

Prepare the syrup:
Combine sugar, water and ground coriander seeds in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and cool completely before straining. Once cool, strain syrup into a bowl and set aside.

Prepare the pound cake:
Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.) Butter and flour a loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Whisk the eggs, milk, zest and vanilla together in a small bowl. Briefly mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl of an electric mixer to combine. Add the butter and half of the eggs. Beat for 1 minute to aerate. Add remaining eggs in 2 batches, beating 20 seconds after each addition. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer to a rack. Brush the top of the cake with some of the syrup;  cool for 10 minutes. Turn the cake out onto the rack and brush the sides and bottom of the cake with the syrup. Cool completely. (The flavors will develop as the cake cools.)
While the cake is cooling, toss the remaining syrup with the strawberries in a bowl. Beat cream, sugar and ground coriander in a bowl of an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
To serve, cut pound cake into 3/4 inch slices. Spoon some of the strawberries with syrup over the cake. Top with a dollop of whipped cream. Garnish with orange zest.