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it’s crazy wonderful out there

Recipe: cindy’s molasses cookies

I have amazing welts developing on my knuckles and fingers. Those blasted mosquitoes were so desperate, they tried to suck my blood from my hands. But Jeremy and I suffered the heat, the bugs, the lightning, the rain, the unstable slopes with thousand foot drops to our deaths, and other beautiful things to capture a little bit of what we love – alpine summer. In photographs! Actually, I suffered all of that to capture the shots, and Jeremy endured it because he is the ace number one guy in the whole wide world. I’m only a third of the way through processing 600 shots, but have a looksee.

evening clouds

not a time for allergies

the blue columbine is the colorado state flower for a reason

i’ll be back to shoot these gorgeous aspen stands in the fall

You can see more photos from the first and second days of the trip on the photo blog. I’ll be adding more as I get through them this week.

When I met my buddy Figs last summer on our trip to California, we crammed as much conversation into one hour as was humanly possible (we did a fine job, I might add). Right before she had to scooter back to work, Cindy presented us with two lovely boxes of homemade cookies. [I often wonder if we were, let’s say, machinist bloggers, would we give one another lathes, mills, and drill presses when we met? Because that would be pretty cool.]

crystallized ginger

ginger, cinnamon, clove, flour

I’m not much of a sweets person. At least, this is what I tell myself. I don’t indulge in the sweets from my own kitchen too often. For some reason, when it is a gift from a friend, it tastes *better* to me. Odd, huh? Maybe not. Maybe love makes everything taste better. That’s got to be it. I tasted a cookie as we drove across the bay to Grandma’s place. Mmmm, spicy.

butter and sugars

adding molasses

Chewy too. Soft and chewy. Maybe one more? Over the course of the next couple of days, I cleaned out my entire box of cookies. And that is saying something because whenever we visit Grandma we get stuffed to the hilt with Chinese food. But the cookies – they were that addictive. I’m not above begging, so I begged Cindy for the recipe, which she so graciously shared with me. I added a half cup of crystallized ginger to the dough. It was supposed to be minced, but when I put it through the food processor, it became more of a ginger paste. Nonetheless, it was a great addition to the cookie dough.

roll out a bazillion dough balls

don’t skip the icing

This recipe makes about 7 dozen cookies per batch. I worried that I wouldn’t want to eat any seeing as I made them, but I am quite fond of spicy, gingery molasses cookies. I ate several (probably too many) cookies before sending them off to other people to get fat off of to enjoy. Next time, I’d like to try hand mincing the ginger (assuming I have the patience) because I think a nice chewy, bite of ginger would add great texture to the cookie. But no matter what I do to alter the recipe, I will always associate these cookies with my friend, Figs.

we have exceeded the optical depth of the cookies

Cindy’s Molasses Cookies
[print recipe]
slightly modified from Figs, Lavender, and Cheese

3/4 cup (170g) butter, softened
1 cup (190g) dark brown sugar, packed
1 cup (225g) sugar
2 eggs, well-beaten
1/2 cup (200g) molasses (not blackstrap)
1/2 cup (130g) crystallized ginger, minced
2 tsps (5g) vinegar
1 tbsp vanilla
3 3/4 cups (530g) flour
1 1/2 tsps (7g) baking soda (I use 1 tsp at 8500 ft.)
6 tsps (12g) ground ginger
2 tsps (5g) ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp (1g) ground cloves
1/4 tsp (2g) salt

2 cups powdered sugar
about 1/4 cup milk

Cream together the butter and the sugars. Stir in the eggs, molasses, ginger, vinegar, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining (dry) ingredients and mix well. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mix and beat until just combined. Preheat oven to 325°F. Form dough into 1-inch balls (about 20 grams per ball) and place on cookie sheet or Silpat with 1.5 inches of space between each (they spread a bit). Bake 12-16 minutes (16 minutes for me). Cookies should be still soft when removed from oven. Cool on a wire rack. Makes about 75 cookies.

Make icing: Place powdered sugar in bowl and add a little milk, stirring to incorporate. Continue to add milk until the glaze has a good pouring consistency (but not too runny). Fill a squeeze bottle with the glaze and stripe the cookies. Let the glaze set.

40 nibbles at “it’s crazy wonderful out there”

  1. katie says:

    They look so good, I adore ginger cookies!

    And, I love the picture of the white trees, I had to scroll back up for a longer look. So beautiful!

    Katie xox

  2. Whitney says:

    My BF Dave LOVES ginger cookies so I will def. have to try this recipe since it won the Jen stamp of approval. Amazing Aspen pictures! I actually have a mug from Colorado that has an aspen design glaze on it that is truly beautiful.

  3. Caitlin says:

    I absolutely love those aspens – gorgeous! And molasses cookies are a winner for me every time; they’re a little sweet, nice and spicy and chewy. I haven’t come across the perfect recipe though, so I’ll be auditioning this one as soon as I can!

  4. Chiot's Run says:

    I love any kind of molasses cookies and anything with crystalized ginger in it. MMMMM.

  5. charlane says:

    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, I love those cookies for sure.

    and aspens – so gorgeous

  6. Haley J. says:

    Ooh! I have been looking for a good molasses cookie recipe, and then here comes this one. Perfect! Anything with icing. :D

  7. Kath says:

    Your blog is both food for the body & the soul.

    Incredible pix!

  8. Karen B says:

    Today I noticed something besides the beauty in your photographs…you’re using the flat beater in your mixer. Hmmm. I’ve had my mixer for 10 years and only used the whip and dough hook. I just dug out the flat beater and the instruction book, and it looks like I should have mainly been using the flat beater for the past 10 years. (And I do use the mixer several times a week). Doh.

    Ooh – I have all the ingredients to make these cookies. I love that!

  9. Rosa says:

    I always admire your photographic skills! Those shots are just too beautiful to be described with words…

    What delicious and dainty looking cookies!



  10. Eesh says:

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful pictures. I sure hope some university/college in Boulder will be in need of a pair of economists a couple years from now ;)

  11. Tartelette says:

    Love the lights and tones of the first pictures! Great job Jen! I hear you on picture processing after a trip. I still have a bunch from NC and now all the ones from VA, ehehe!! Must get ready and organized for SF!!
    I can relate to the ginger molasses cookies too (not surprised there, are you?!). I never want to eat cookies but any of that kind and I go hide somewhere with a plate full :) Recipe bookmarked! Never can anyone have too many spicy ginger cookie recipes on hand. E-vah!

  12. Indigo says:

    What amazing pictures – as usual – I kind of want to bury my face into that heap of ginger cookies. Even your drizzle is neater than my drizzle, haha. Delicious.

  13. Lindsey says:

    The cookies look delicious, and the photos are amazing.

  14. Jenny says:

    I am getting so insanely jealous looking at your pictures, it looks so wonderful. At least I get to see the pictures though, the wildflowers are just so pretty.

    I have a terrible problem with just not having the time in the day/month/year to do everything I want to. I do my very best to try and live in the present and enjoy the moment, but its sometimes tricky!

  15. Paige at The Spice House says:

    I love your trip photos, and admire your ability to process them right away. I’ve got a bunch from a trip a year ago I still haven’t gotten to!

    The cookies look great too. If you like the ginger paste idea, stick with it, but if you want minced ginger in the food processor, try freezing it first. Should keep it from sticking to the blades as much.

  16. Phoo-D says:

    I can almost feel the crisp mountain air in your photos. Alpine air is simply good for the soul. Those cookies look pretty good for the soul too! Delicious.

  17. TheKitchenWitch says:

    You amaze, you amaze, you amaze.

  18. Debbie says:

    The cookies look great. I love molasses….Your photographs are so beautiful. Such a talented lady!

  19. Valérie says:

    Mmm… I’ve been meaning to make ginger and molasses cookies. I had a recipe in mind, but this looks reeeaally tempting. And that photograph of the cloud is mind-boggling!

  20. Holly says:

    Absolutely gorgeous photos – love how your landscapes transcend into the food pics so perfectly!

  21. cindy says:

    If we were carpenter bloggers, I’d send you a plumb-bob. I’m digging the little cookie stripes. These need to cool before you frost them, so I usually end up doing it at about 11:00 at night–too late for such fanciness. I loved minced ginger, but mincing it makes me so cross. Goos up everything. Any advice?

  22. peabody says:

    I was just thinking about making molasses cookies, and here are some. Yum. They look awesome. I love the icing, I usuallyjust roll mine in sugar. I think mine need icing next time.

  23. npm says:

    wow! the scenery and pictures are just gorgeous! the cookies look so good & i’m keen to try it someday.

  24. Pomme says:

    Woohh!! This recipe couldn’t come at a better time, we’ve recently discovered molasse adn we now have a big jar in the cupboard. I was looking for a recipe to make cookies, because it seems a waste to just dip my finger into it the way I’m doing at the moment (yes, I’m a pig, but a very happy one, yummmm!!)

  25. Pomme says:

    Oh, and by the way, how could I have misssed your photo blog before?!??! It’s absolutely wonderful, so easy to get lost in those beautiful pictures!

  26. Lucy Vaserfirer says:

    I’ve been dreaming of your pic of the aspens ever since you tweeted it. (And that’s saying a lot, cuz I almost never dream of anything unless I can eat it!)

  27. Mrs Ergül says:

    Love the pretty icing!!!!! This sounds like a savoury cookie hehe

    Now you have us begging for more with the looksee!

  28. we are never full says:

    ohhhh i love these pictures. i lived in breckenridge, co for a few years and NOTHING is more beautiful than the aspens. in fact, your pictures capture colorado for so many reasons – mainly that you can just SEE how clear and clean the air is there. oh how i miss it. gorgeous. oh and those cookies ain’t too bad either!

  29. Manggy says:

    Nah, I think we just have the upper hand gifting-wise because food isn’t really as expensive as stuff! ;) It’s not like you give lenses to other photogs, lol, but I would start a photo blog if someone gave me a camera, hahaha! :P

    There’s something about gifts that make them more delicious, but it’s already high up there on the deliciousness scale when it comes to ginger+molasses, for me, for serious. I am so addicted to the stuff I get the chills every December. As in, way above chocolate, berries, and maybe at the same level as mangoes ;) I have to say, good luck mincing the ginger, lol ;)

  30. jenyu says:

    Katie – thanks!

    Whitney – wow, I usually find women who are big fans of ginger cookies, but not so many guys. How cool (and good taste)! Yes, there is something magical about aspens – I love them.

    Caitlin – this one is totally not what I had expected to like so much, but I just DO!

    Chiot’s Run – ditto :)

    Charlane – thank you.

    Haley – I’m generally not a fan of icing, but the icing on this cookie is a perfect bit of sweet to go along with the cookie.

    Kath – awww, thank you!

    Karen – yes yes, use the flat beater. It’s awesome (plus the whip can’t mix really thick doughs and such).

    Rosa – thanks :)

    Eesh – you can always keep your eyes peeled!

    Tartelette – SF will be in a class of its own ;) It’s funny that I really did not like ginger as a kid, but now I LOVE it in sweet and savory cooking alike. Just can’t get enough. Plus, it really saved me from feeling nauseous all the time when I was on chemo. Yay for ginger!

    Indigo – ha ha ;)

    Lindsey – thank you!

    Jenny – it really is a balancing act and some are better at it than others, but as long as you’re happy and healthy – you’re well ahead of the rest.

    Paige – what a GREAT idea! Thanks. I’ll have to try that (or just suck it up and mince by hand) :)

    Phoo-D – ha ha! Thank you :)

    TKW – silly girl. You always make me laugh.

    Debbie – thank you, hon. You’re too sweet.

    Valerie – it was pretty cool to see. Sometimes the sunsets are total busts and other times they really pay off!

    Holly – very sweet of you, thanks.

    Cindy – Someone above suggested freezing them. Interesting idea, no?

    Peabody – Oooh, I’ve never rolled in sugar before. Good idea!

    NPM – thanks!

    Pomme – ha ha. I sometimes forget what I use molasses for, but cookies and bbq usually come to the rescue!

    Lucy – that’s a great quote ;)

    Mrs. E – oh, but it’s soooo good (sweet) :)

    We Are Never Full – thank you!

    Manggy – it’s true, and the food is also “made by” person, you know? Something of a personal touch. I’m glad I do food, although it’d be fun to be a botanist and give everyone a little 4-inch plant ;) Oooh, same level as MANGOES? That’s saying something, for sure. Do mangoes and ginger play well together?!?

  31. Patricia Scarpin says:

    Jen, I’m a freak for anything with spices – love it! The smell taking over the kitchen, yum!
    I love how pretty these look, besides sounding delicious – they are a perfect gift!

  32. Diane says:

    Your photos are fabulous – both food and non-food!

  33. Mollie says:

    Cookies do always taste better when someone else makes them. Salads and sandwiches too…

  34. Maybe says:

    Your pictures of the nature are just amazing !

  35. jenyu says:

    Patricia – these are actually perfect to make in the fall or winter. Makes the whole house smell so cozy :)

    Diane – thank you!

    Mollie – or food in general? :)

    Maybe – thanks!

  36. Mrs Ergül says:

    jen, i will be making these for my hubby who doesn’t fancy CHOCOLATES! Do I use just regular white vinegar in these?

  37. jenyu says:

    Mrs. E – yup, I think regular white vinegar is what I used (I’m pretty sure considering how many vinegars we have in this house!)

  38. Angelia McGowan says:

    Over the past two days, I have made 4 batches, different recipes around the web, of molasses cookies, all are terrible! This recipe is completely different than what I have tried, I will try these, looks like it will be a keeper!

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