|by Carol Peterman||Print-friendly page|
This recipe comes with a legend and is part of the history of Marblehead, Massachusetts. According to Yankee Magazine, in the early 1800s a couple known as Aunt Crease and Joe lived at the edge of a pond in Marblehead, Massachusetts. On election night, they would open their house and serve grog, Joe would play the fiddle and Aunt Crease would cook. One of her specialties was a molasses cookie. She made them for fishermen, who found they stored well in barrels during long sea voyages. These cookies were as big as the lily pads floating in Joe’s frog pond.
I have adapted the recipe a bit and prefer to make a smaller version that is sliced from a log of dough rather than rolled and cut out. Given that these are little guys I thought the name Joe Frogettes was appropriate, and sounds better than tadpoles. These cookies celebrate the exotic spices arriving in Boston Harbor from far away lands.
Makes about 60 cookies
1/3 cup hot water
2 1/2 Tbsp dark rum
1/2 cup unsalted butter (4 oz.), room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup unsulphured dark molasses
3 1/2 cups flour (17.5 oz.)
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp clove
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Combine the flour, salt, and spices in a medium bowl and whisk well to thoroughly combine. Set aside.
Measure the molasses in a liquid measuring cup and stir in the baking soda. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter for a minute and then slowly add the sugar. Continue to beat the mixture until it is light and fluffy about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dark rum, increase the speed and beat until incorporated. Reduce the mixer speed again and drizzle in the hot water. The mixture may look curdled at this point, but it will come back together once the other ingredients are added.
Add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the molasses, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Stop mixing just before all the flour is fully incorporated, and finish the last bit of mixing by hand. The dough should be very soft, if it looks really wet, stir in more flour a few tablespoons at a time.
Divide the dough into thirds and roll each third into a 2-inch diameter log using waxed paper or parchment paper. Twist the ends closed and place the logs in the freezer for at least 3 hours, but preferably longer.
To bake: Preheat oven to 375°F and either grease or line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Unwrap a log of dough and slice cookies off about ¼” thick. To keep the cookies round while slicing, give the log a quarter turn after each slice to prevent a flat spot from forming. If any sliced cookies look deformed, just reshape them by hand. Sprinkle each cookie with sugar* and bake for 9 minutes if you like chewy molassas cookies or 10-11 minutes if you like them crispy. Let the hot cookies sit on the baking sheet for a minute or two before transferring them to a cooling rack.
*Sugar leftover at the bottom of a bag of crystallized ginger is great to sprinkle on these cookies.
Use up leftover frosting or chocolate ganache on hand to make sandwich cookies.
(Adapted from YankeeMagazine.com http://www.YankeeMagazine.com/getrecipe/637)