Seattle is located pretty far North. Forty-seven degrees North to be exact. With this, we get super long days in the summer and very short days in the winter. Not like Alaska, mind you, but as good as it gets in the continental US. I actually like the weather here, most of the time, despite all the whining I do about it. My husband and I were talking about spending some time at the beach this fall and we starting laughing about these old ads that Henry Weindhard’s used to do. This one pretty much sums up what it is like on the Pacific NW beaches.

With the turn of the weather and the shorter days, I really start to look for warming, comfort foods. I also start thinking a lot about the holidays. I like making food gifts so I start researching it early. I have to say, this one from Tartine is of the best recipes I have run into. I went out and bought a textured rolling pin just for this (I hope that I get to use it elsewhere, but we’ll see). When finished, I sliced mine into snackable little squares. They turned out beautifully and the flavors were rich and warming. Just perfect for the holidays.

Soft Glazed Gingerbread (from Tartine, Chronicle Books, 2006)

3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground
1 cup (2 sticks/8 oz./226g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup blackstrap or other dark molasses
2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoon water

To Make the Dough: Stir together the flour, cocoa powder, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Set aside. Using a stand mixer fitter with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy. Slowly add the granulated sugar and mix on medium speed until the mixture is completely smooth and soft. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the egg and mix well. Add the molasses and corn syrup and beat until incorporated. Stop the mixer again and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until a dough forms that pulls away from the sides of the bowl and all the ingredients are well incorporated. Remove the dough from the bowl, flatten it on a large piece of plastic wrap into a rectangle about 1 inch thick, cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick liner.

Unwrap the dough and place on a floured work surface. Roll dough out to 1/2 inch thick. If you aren’t using a patterned rolling pin, you can cut the dough out like cookies here and add texture to them with other tools. The pattern allows the glaze to pool. I cooked mine as instructed in one large sheet with the edges trimmed.

Bake until lightly golden along the sides but still soft to the touch in the center, 7 to 15 minutes. The timing will depend on the size of the individual cookies, or if you have made a single large patterned piece that will be cut after baking.

While the cookies are baking, prepare the glaze.

To Make the Glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and water until smooth.

When the cookies are ready, remove from the oven and let cool on the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Then, while the cookies are still warm, using even strokes, brush a light coat of glaze on the top of each cookie, evenly covering it. Let the cookies cool completely. When the glaze dries, it should leave a shiny, opaque finish. If you have used a patterned pin to make a single large plaque, cut into the desired sizes with a small, very sharp knife.

The cookies will keep in an airtight container in a cool place for about 2 weeks.


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