A couple of weeks ago I was calling around to area bookstores, trying to find a specific book that I wanted to give as a gift. I found a copy at Beagle Books, an independent bookstore in Park Rapids, Minnesota. So, a few days later, my husband and I were driving down Highway 71, heading to the cozy little bookstore. We wound up making an afternoon of walking up and down Main Street, browsing the shops and having some lunch at 3rd Street Market.
It was while we were in Summerhill Farm that my husband discovered some gingersnap cookies he fell in love with after the first bite. Owner of Summerhill Farm, Eileen Reish, had made the cookies for holiday shoppers to nibble as they browsed through her store. I had passed them up. I was filled to the brim after having a large, chubby avocado wrap for lunch at 3rd Street Market. Before we left the store that afternoon, Eileen had already emailed the gingersnap recipe to my husband. He forwarded the recipe to me. I guess he thought I’d be more likely to make the cookies than he would.
Each morning this week, I would sneak out to the garage to get the tin holding pfeffernusse, one of my new favorites. I had made them on Sunday during springerle baking (see my previous post) and baked them on Monday. They were going fast. I love these cookies, chock full of dried fruit, chopped nuts, sweet spices and anise. They seem to be one of those cookies you either love or hate. I love. My husband hates. And that’s a good thing, actually, because it leaves more of them for me.
The tin was nearing an empty state and I was beginning to panic.
That’s when I decided to make a batch of Eileen’s Gingersnaps, which came to Eileen from one of her coworkers, Peg Mosbo. According to Eileen, Peg is a fabulous baker. I was hoping to create cookies that would at least give me a little bit of a fix for my pfeffernusse addiction. To do that, I had to adjust Peg’s recipe by adding some allspice and black pepper. If I wanted my husband to eat them, there was no way I could add anise oil to the cookie dough. I wouldn’t even think about stirring dried fruitcake mix into the gingery dough. But, I could safely push a pecan half into the top of each cookie before baking. I rolled the cookie balls in sugar to give them some holiday sparkle. Peg Mosbo’s original recipe says to coat the baked gingersnaps with a powdered sugar glaze.
These cookies are soft and chewy, spicy and sweet. A perfectly satisfying Christmas cookie with their spicy fragrance. I love them. But, they’re not pfeffernusse. No…….they’re gingersnaps. Mighty good ones.
Pecan-Topped Gingersnap Cookies
- 1 Â½ cups butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 4 Â½ cups flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- Â½ cup dark molasses (I used half mild molasses and half full-flavored dark molasses)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Sugar, for rolling cookies in
- Pecan halves
Cream butter and sugar. Mix in molasses and eggs. Sift dry
ingredients together then mix with butter-sugar mixture until blended.
Chill the dough. Roll into small balls. Roll balls in sugar to coat. Push a pecan half into the top of each cookie. Place on ungreased or parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes 10 to 11 dozen cookies when using a #100 portion scooper.