It's the time of year to stay warm, and one sure way to heat the house up is by baking. I've been baking chocolate cakes, apple turnovers, oven-braised beef cheeks and gingery molasses cookies. These molasses cookies are from the White House kitchen, and the recipe called for candied ginger pieces. Of course, not having any candied ginger in the house, but having lots of fresh ginger always, I used only fresh. I was afraid the extra moisture might affect the cookie, but it turned out okay. Very gingery, very spicy, very good and very easy.
It's also the time of year in Japan for oseibo gift giving. We received these snowball Kyoto wagashi (Japanese style sweets) which consist of, from left, coarse azuki bean paste, fine azuki bean paste, coarse azuki bean and fine white bean paste all coated thickly with a silky smooth sugar icing. Beautiful.
Two very different holiday treats. Which do you prefer?
My yield was about 35 cookies
Sift the dry ingredients together. Beat the butter and brown sugar with molasses until well combined and fluffy. Add the egg and ginger and beat 3 minutes. Add the flour mixture with the machine on low and then stir in the candied ginger (or fresh ginger) by hand, do not over mix. Chill until the dough is firm and no longer sticky, at least 1 hour or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Scoop with small ice cream scoop, about 1 tablespoon, and roll into a ball and then roll in granulated sugar. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, about 2 inches apart and press flat, 1/4-inch high.
Bake about 16 minutes or until the edges are firm and the tops feel set to the touch. Cool 1 minute on the baking sheets and then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
These were great as an ice cream sandwich! Just soften a bit your favorite vanilla ice cream and scoop some on top of the flat side of one cookie. Place another cookie, flat side to ice cream and squeeze together, so that the ice cream is pressed and spreads out to the sides of the cookie. Scrape away any overhanging ice cream and smooth the sides. Wrap in parchment paper and place in plastic freezer bags to harden. Serve frozen.