10.05.2013

Pennies from Heaven


Whenever I make these cookies, I inevitably find myself singing the song, "Pennies from Heaven."



Because these cookies are, without a doubt, pennies from heaven.

Today's recipe if from my favorite Christmas cookie book, although most of you will know the author for her number one selling book, The Cake Bible.

Rose's Christmas Cookies, by Rose Levy Beranbaum, is brilliant. Each recipe is thoughtfully presented by measure and weight (both ounces and grams) much like in The Cake Bible. All the recipes come out perfectly, and they taste amazing.

Some favorites among the many include her Orange-Chocolate Paradise Bars, Praline Truffle Cups, Mahogany Buttercrunch Toffee, Springerle, and her cleverly named Bone à Fidos - dog biscuits! And, of course, these Ginger Pennies.

I made these ginger disks first for a holiday party Mark and I had for our coworkers when we lived in Maine. The ginger pennies were a tremendous success, and I remember people just standing by the bowl, popping them in their mouths like peanuts at a bar.

It was a gratifying sight.

Most recently, I made them to give to my friend Rebecca who was getting married, and doing the lion's share of the cooking by herself. I offered to bake a small batch of cookies.

And then the thought hit me... this recipe for ginger pennies makes hundreds of cookies! I would give her a heaping pile of ginger pennies.

I emailed her at work the day before the wedding and said, " If somebody was dumb enough to give away their ginger pennies for my wedding, I would basically say, 'Forget the guests!' and keep them for myself!”

Once she tasted them, she knew exactly what I meant.

~ David

Ginger Pennies
adapted from Rose's Christmas Cookies, by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Making these in the food processor is a breeze. You will need a strong, resealable plastic bag, and parchment paper.


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt (1/8 teaspoon if using sea salt)
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg (2 ounces)
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
12 tablespoons unsalted butter


Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).


Line a baking sheet with parchment for the first batch, and cut 6 additional sheets of parchment for the ensuing batches.


In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, cardamom, cloves, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.


In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the brown sugar, egg, and molasses. Add butter in 20 pieces (or so) and process until smooth and thick, scraping the sides if needed.


Add the dry ingredients and pulse until blended. Scrape sides and pulse 3 more times.


Scrape mixture into the resealable bag, zip it closed, and then cut off one of the corners. Pipe the dough into small 1/2-inch round onto the parchment paper about 1 inch apart. Each 'dot' will have a little peak - don't worry. the peaks flatten as they bake.) I generally get 10 rows of 7 on each sheet - making 70 cookies per sheet.


Bake them for 5 minutes. While they are baking, lay out another sheet of parchment and pipe out approximately 70 more dots. When the first batch is done, slide the parchment onto the counter to cool. Replace it with the second sheet of dough dots, and bake for 5 minutes. Repeat until all the dough is gone. Once they are cool, they will slide easily off the parchment.


You should end up with about 400-450 cookies from this recipe, depending on the size of your mounds. But don't feel that you have made too many... they will be gone in minutes. 


 

26 comments:

  1. How cute! I'd need to invest in a couple more cookie sheets :)

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    1. Ahu - either more baking sheets or lots of parchment paper! (The latter was my decision!)

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  2. David, this post made me smile but what really made my (late) evening was the number of cookies that this recipe makes: 400 to 450 cookies is a lot of cookies, dear friend! But they look so fabulous that I am sure they would be gone rather quickly around here as well!
    Hope you are having a good time in lovely Venice - all the very best, mein Freund!

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    1. Luckily, is is a very quick recipe even though it makes so many! Thé first time I made them I was laughing at how many it makes. They are so cute, and would make a nice snack for your girls after school!

      Having a lovely tie in Venice even though das Wette is wirklich furchtbar!

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  3. These are darling -- and I might just be able to ear all 400! I LOVE the picture of the egg - beautiful!

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    1. Thanks, Valentina! I love photographing both eggs and mushrooms. Quirky, eh? With eggs, I think it stems from art class when I learned to draw and paint them. It made me appreciate their form and beauty.

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  4. Now that's what I call a decent batch of cookies :) Now tell me David what is unusual furred molasses? - I must confess my imagination is working overtime :)

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    1. Karen - your comment made me guffaw with horror - when I write these things in my iPad while traveling, the autocorrects are my worst nightmare. So it is unsulfured molasses... But I can only imagine where your creative mind went with unusual furred molasses! :) The other thing about fixing published posts on the iPad is that it must be done in HTML... Are you (is everyone out there?) as afraid of HTML as I?

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    2. That is hilarious, I must admit Mr LG and I were discussing what this could possibly be and had visions of a very old tin of molasses stored in the back of your cupboard for way too long... Hope the holiday is going well and don't worry about auto correct you absolutely just made my day - I haven't laughed so hard in ages :)

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    3. Gkad you got a good laugh from that - I am sure others did, as well? You gotta love autocorrects! Mark thought the same thing as Mr. LG - some old bottle from my college days growin mold... Too funny!

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  5. Wow, after that description I want to make them NOW! I've been a fan of ginger cookies for a long time, and made them a lot for my brother. This recipe feeds a school. But I guess the dough can be frozen in the piping bag. That or start throwing pennies at strangers in the street...! I imagine you're both having a great time. I spent a birthday in Venice years ago, a wonderful place!

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    1. I love the idea of tossing the pennies to passersby on the street below! Even though this recipe makes hundreds, no one can eat just one... or five... or ten!

      Venice is wonderful... Spending the day in cooking and avoiding the rain.... Off to a concert tonight! Vivaldi, Respighi and Albinoni...

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  6. How cute. These would be great wrapped in cello bags and given as party favors.

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    1. Great idea, Cory. The only problem I see is giving them away!

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  7. These sound wonderful!!! Need to try these soon!

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    1. Thanks, Mr. And Mrs. P! Let me know what you think!

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  8. Well I can see why anyone would want to just sit and eat these like peanuts at a bar. They're the perfect size and full of glorious spices!

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    1. The spices are what make these really special, John... well, the spices and the butter!

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  9. These are beautiful David. I definitely understand the 'Pennies from Heaven' comparison. Your friend should definitely keep them all for herself! :) I've never made penny cookies before... over here, the trend seems to be 'the bigger the better'. Most supermarkets sell giant chewy cookies which are wonderful, but I love bite sized things. I could easily devour a huge batch of these ginger wonders. Great photos too... that cup of molasses is so beautifully glossy! xx

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    1. You guys aren't alone in the 'bigger is better' mindset. It is rampant here, too. Cookies, muffins, cupcakes, even slices of cake. I think that is why I like some of the old-fashioned recipes. A little more quality and a lot less quantity. Thanks, Lauara, as always for your kind comments!

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  10. You are such a thoughtful friend! I made about 125 chocolate chip & oatmeal cookies for our niece & nephew's engagement party on Saturday! Great minds -- or great hearts...

    My husband won't even "waste calories" on cookies that aren't homemade anymore. These are just perfect for a wedding, too.

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    1. I am the same as John, Susan - I won't waste calories on any dessert that isn't homemade. My few exceptions are things from exceptional bakeries.

      It is fun baking for others - 125 chocolate chip cookies is a lot of love!

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  11. Hi David,
    Do you remember that, when I first met you, you made a batch of these fabulous cookies for a Ballet New England event I was helping to organize. I think it was for the Nutcracker Tea Party. They were a HUGE hit. Since then, I have made them myself and can confirm that they are not difficult to whip up when expecting a party of 100 and they are just delicious!

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    1. Thanks for reminding me of that, Susan! I do remember making them for the Nutcracker Tea! I am glad you are still enjoying them. Did you notice the change I made in the recipe? I switched out the cinnamon and used cardamom. Also, did you notice the BEAUTIFUL Mexican plate I used?

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  12. These look amazing - and great photos, I can practically taste their sweet, warm ginger loveliness melting in my mouth. As soon as we are in our new house and I have all my kitchen things back, I am so making these. Probably when Y is at work and T is at nursery so I can just stash them somewhere for myself...

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    1. That sounds like a very practical and good idea, Ruth! And, if there comes a day when T (or Y) is being particularly well-behaved, you can 'find' them a cookie. Like magic! :)

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