What would the holidays be without a perfect ginger cookie?
A whole lot of blah humbug, that’s what.
When these cookies go in the oven, the spicy fragrance that fills the kitchen is intoxicating.
With one whiff, you just know Christmas time is here.
“Molasses-Ginger Cookies” is from the new cookbook, “The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook” (Artisan), of which I received a review copy, by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day. They are the founders of the Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah, Ga. Cheryl is a former “Soul Train” dancer. Griffith is a funk musician. They met in their early 20s over a love for music, then reconnected 15 years later over a passion for baking.
Their bakery opened a decade ago. They actually got married inside of it, too. The cookbook reflects that very personal touch. It’s filled with homespun treats rooted in Southern tradition, everything from ‘Nana Cream Pie to Plum Custard to Butter Mints.
These cookies are big-fisted, possessed of a crackly sugary top and a chewy-good center — all things you want in a Christmas-time ginger cookie.
Don’t be alarmed by the generous amounts of ground spices used, including a whopping 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. That may seem like way too much. But the resulting flavor in the baked cookies is not overwhelming at all. The taste is spicy, but balanced.
For good measure, I even upped the ginger quota by using a sample of Aftelier Chef’s Essences ($16.95 to $19.95) in Fresh Ginger, available at Williams-Sonoma. These tiny bottles of essential, all-natural oils come in a variety of flavors, including Asian Lemon, Sweet Basil and Warm Nutmeg. Of course, I had to try the Fresh Ginger one, being the ginger fiend that I am.