Friday, September 16, 2011

Suprise Cookies

Most of the recipes I try, I get from the internet, usually from one of three sources: How Sweet It Is, The Pioneer Woman, or Tasty Kitchen.  But occasionally, I'll go old school and dig out one of my cookbooks (I actually have quite a library of them and should use them more often).  I decided to do that this week, both because I wanted to test out my new super awesome oven and because I really wanted cookies.  So I went to my tried and true Pillsbury Baking cookbook, and found a stack of hand-written recipes that I had stashed in there.  Chances are, if it's handwritten, I've copied it from one of my grandmothers' or my mother's recipe cards.  I found one that I had written on the inside of a blank card that was definitely a cookie recipe, but it had no title.  I was intrigued.  Since I happened to have all of the ingredients on hand, I decided to give it a shot and see what I ended up with.  Here's an idea of what you'll need if you decide to make them too:

The Wilton bottle behind the butter is almond extract.  Whoops, my bad.  And you don't need wine glasses, I just forgot to move them.

Don't mind my crappy dinosaur-age phone.  It's really time for an upgrade.

I rather liked the assortment of cutters Lilah and Grady picked out from my stash.  

Fueling up before dance class.

Grady is always a fan of cookies!
The full recipe is below, but I won't keep you in suspense.  They turned out to be gingerbread cookies, and they were goooooooood.  Sure, it might be a little early for gingerbread, but my kids really didn't think so.  Besides, gingerbread cookies are my favorite part of summer visits to Santa's Village in New Hampshire, so I think gingerbread works for any time of year.  We didn't frost them this time, but I did include a basic frosting recipe in case you want to.  I have no idea which grandmother I got this recipe from (I'm pretty sure it's not from my mom, but I could be wrong), so I'll have to ask them each some tricky questions to confirm whose it is.  In the meantime, enjoy the photos, and make these soon!  They are super-easy, and they turn out so perfectly chewy and spicy.  I wish we had some left...

Suprise Gingerbread CookiesMakes about 5 dozen cookies; recipe can be halved easily
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup butter
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup molasses
3/4 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. almond extract
4 1/2 - 5 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare cookie sheets. Melt butter in a small bowl, let cool 5-10 minutes.  In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, spices, salt, and baking soda.  Mix in melted butter, evaporated milk, molasses, and extracts.  Stir in flour one cup at a time until you have a nice workable ball of cookie dough.  Dough can be chilled for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator for ease in rolling out and cutting shapes, but it's not necessary.  Roll dough onto floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut shapes with cutters and place 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  (I took mine out at 8 minutes and they were perfect, but you may need to adjust baking time depending on what size cutters you use.  My cutters were about 2 inches across, average.)

Frosting:1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup milk (or less, for thicker frosting)
food coloring, optional

Just mix sugar and milk to desired consistency and spread on your cookies!  Can top with sprinkles, chocolate chips, whatever you choose.

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