The Cook’s Cookies

The sun is gone by 5:00 pm and is not showing back up until 7:00 am. It is cold and snowy! What do you do to fight those blues? Sorry… the Cook forgets that there are people out there that love these conditions and the Cook was one of those…but not now. Spend one winter in north-central Russia, yet alone many, and that is a love never to return.

So what does one do to find comfort from the cold and dark? The Cook goes to baking and soup making. Comfort food is what it is now called. What is your favorite?

Cookies, (aka: biscuits, keks, biscotti, galletas) small flat baked treats, according to a few sources, where originally invented rather by accident than by design. It is claimed that bakers used to make small versions of their cakes to test oven temperatures before baking the cakes thus the little cake or cookie. Historically, notations about cookies date back to the 7th century in Persia. The spread into Europe was most likely attributed to the muslum conquests in Spain during the middle-ages.
The American name of cookie derives from the Dutch word Koekje or little cake and is claimed to have made its way into America via the Dutch, Scottish, and English immigrants during the 17th century. These early day cookies usually where made of nuts, flour, sweetener, and water, hard and not as sweet as our modern cookies. Not until the 18th century, did the cookie evolve to what it is today, mostly due to the use of butter or other oils and sugar.

Cook… enough of the history lesson already, what is the best cookie to fight the cold weather blues? Ouch…the Cook was fearful of that question. The Cook has not one favorite cookie but many, too many to list, no matter the type of cookie: drop, refrigerator, rolled, pressed, or molded, the Cook makes several versions of all. Ok the “go to cookie” has to be a New England soft molasses cookie regionally referred to as a Joe Frogger. The Cook is not sure how the name came about, most likely has to do with a bit of folklore, but the Cook is sure this is one great cookie. Credit the folks at King Arthur Flour for this fine formula.

No matter what your favorite cookie is, a cup of hot tea, cocoa, chai, or coffee and few cookies will melt the cold away.

Stay warm, stay dry and as always…thanks for reading and see you next time.

The Cupboard Cook

Joe Froggers – Soft Molasses Cookies

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup molassess
½ cup of sugar
1/3 cup of dark rum

Yield: 16 cookies
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, spices, baking soda, and salt together and set aside. In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer with dough hook, beat the butter and sugar until creamy, then add the molasses, beating until incorporated. Alternately add the dry ingredients with the rum and mix until incorporated. Do not over-mix.
Scoop out dough forming rounds about the size of a golf ball and place on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies crack on the top but the edges haven’t started to brown. Do not over-cook these cookies or they will get dry.
Store in air-tight containers or plastic bags, but the Cook recommends cooking one-half of the batch and freezing the other one-half for later use. These are best devoured while still warm!