I’m excited to once again be participating in the Improv Challenge hosted by Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker! This month, the challenge ingredients are hearts and flours. So far, I’ve shared:
- Bananas and Nutmeg (January 2013): Fried Bananas with Brown Sugar Sauce
- Chocolate and Marshmallows (December 2012): Crispy Rice Squares with Chocolate Sauce
- Zucchini and Brown Sugar: (September 2012): Zucchini Bread
- Tomatoes and Peppers (August 2012): Green Chile Pepper and Tomato Soup
- Corn and Butter (July 2012): Cilantro Tomato Corn Salad with a Lemon-Butter Dressing
- Cherries and Almonds (June 2012): Icy Drink with Cherries and Almonds
- Strawberries and Cream (May 2012): Strawberries Marinated in Maple Syrup with Whipped Cream
This month, I’m sharing a gingerbread cookie recipe I got from my friend Kas (with slight modifications).
- The original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon ground cardamom in addition to the other spices. However, I left this out because I didn’t have the ingredient readily available in my pantry (and it was Family Day, so I couldn’t go to the store to buy some).
- I used fancy molasses instead of unsulphured molasses.
- I baked the cookies for 8 1/2 minutes (which made for crunchy cookies, but I would have preferred they turned out soft like Kas’s cookies).
- I used lactose-free milk instead of regular milk.
- I used cane sugar instead of white sugar.
- I used sea salt instead of table salt.
Kas’s Piparkakut cookies are amazing. She tends to make them around Christmas and, if you’re lucky, you get a pack of cookies as a gift. this year, I had the privileged of making a double-batch of cookies with her during a visit. I’m not great at baking, so it was nice to go through the process with a pro (it is her family’s recipe after all!). The ones we made over the holiday were decorated with sprinkles and divided between the two of us. I gave a few away, but Bryan and I kept most of that batch for ourselves.
So, after getting the stand mixer a few weeks back, I decided it was about time that I try making these cookies at home. So on Family Day (this past Monday), I enlisted Bryan’s help with some cookie making. One thing I must point out is that the cookie dough is just as delicious as the cookies themselves. As we were rolling out the cookies, Bryan and I enjoyed many tastes of the dough before it even made it into the oven! We just got our first set of cookie cutters and made several shapes: hearts (as per the Improv Challenge), stars, multi-pointed stars and a shape we cannot agree on (I think it’s candy — Bryan thinks it’s a bone). At the end of the night, we’d sampled so much dough that we were too full to sample the finished cookies! I may have had cookies for breakfast on Tuesday morning, just to make sure they tasted ok.
A single batch, we found, was wayyyyy too many cookies for the two of us. So I’ve given a few to friends as taste testers of my first batch.
Kas and her partner got half a dozen. I was upfront with her about the changes I’d made. Their verdict? Not bad for the first batch! And they didn’t miss the cardamom too much, They only complaint was that I’d left them in the oven a touch too long and they were a bit crispier than they should be. I was already aware of this.
Another half dozen went to my childhood best friend and her sister. Our visit was unplanned, but I was glad to have a few cookies to share with them. They had also tasted a few that I had made with Kas over the holiday and had a point of comparison. They too thought the cookies were pretty good!
Finally, I gave another half dozen to my friend and her four-year old son when I went to babysit last night. She, as far as I know, hasn’t tried a cookie yet, but they also seem to be kid-approved! I allowed him to have one cookie during my visit last night and he savored it over about half an hour.
Hooray for a successful batch of cookies!
Piparkakut (Finnish Gingerbread) Cookies
- 1 cup salted butter – approximate cost $2.50
- 1 ¼ cups cane sugar – approximate cost $1.00
- ¼ cup fancy molasses – approximate cost $0.25
- 1 large egg – approximate cost $0.25
- 2 tablespoons lactose-free milk – approximate cost $0.20
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (and a bit extra for rolling the cookies) – approximate cost $0.75
- 2 teaspoons baking soda – approximate cost $0.10
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon – approximate cost $0.15
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger – approximate cost $0.10
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves – approximate cost $0.05
- ½ teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.03
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix together the butter, sugar, and molasses until well mixed and fluffy.
- Add the egg and lactose-free milk and stir until well mixed.
- Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, sea salt and pepper in a separate large mixing bowl.
- Slowly add the flour and spice mixture (1/2 cup at a time) into the butter and molasses mixture, mixing constantly until the two are well-combined.
- Roll out the dough on a floured surface (the dough should be about 1cm thick).
- Use cookie cutters to cut out cookies.
- Gently peel away the unused dough.
- Work the unused dough into a ball.
- Place cookies on a cookie sheet.
- Bake cookies for 7 1/2 minutes (until golden brown but still soft).
- Remove cookies to a wire rack.
- Repeat steps 6-12 until you use up all of the dough.
- Cool cookies completely before packaging or enjoy warm.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies, depending on the size of the cookie-cutter shapes (approximate cost: $0.15 per cookie).