Saturday, January 5, 2008

Joe Froggers

These are very yummy cookies. They don't last much past the day I bake them in our house. Joe froggers date back more than 200 years to Black Joe's Tavern in Marblehead, Mass., a seaside town about 25 miles north of Boston. The original recipe called for local seawater, which gave the cookies their distinctly salty flavor. From Cook's Country Feb/March 2007

Place only 6 cookies on each baking sheet—they will spread. If you don't own a 3 1/2-inch cookie cutter, use a drinking glass. Use regular (not robust) molasses. Make sure to chill the dough for a full 8 hours or it will be too hard to roll out.

1/3 cup dark rum
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out dough
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
8 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened but still cool
1 cup sugar

1. Stir rum, water, and salt in small bowl until salt dissolves. Whisk flour, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves in medium bowl. Stir molasses and baking soda in large measuring cup (mixture will begin to bubble) and let sit until doubled in volume, about 15 minutes.
2. With electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and gradually beat in rum mixture. Add one-third of flour mixture, beating on medium-low until just incorporated, followed by half of molasses mixture, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add half of remaining flour mixture, followed by remaining molasses mixture, and finally remaining flour mixture. Using rubber spatula, give dough final stir (dough will be extremely sticky). Cover bowl containing dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate until stiff, at least 8 hours or up to 3 days.
3. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with half of dough at a time on a heavily floured work surface, roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Using 3 1/2-inch cookie cutter, cut out 12 cookies. Transfer 6 cookies to each baking sheet, spacing cookies about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until cookies are set and just beginning to crack, about 8 minutes, rotating rack position and direction of baking sheets halfway through baking time. Cool cookies on sheets 10 minutes, then transfer cookies to rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough. (Cookies may be stored in airtight container for up to 1 week.)

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