Joe Froggers

originally posted sept 26, 2014

We are officially over our heads in dessert. Don't look in the freezer, it is embarrassing. Also--I don't see an end in site, with a can of pumpkin lurking around every thought and our chocolate mint plant over flowing with green leaves. Let's just say that to everything there is a season, and this season is consumed with baking. So you should come over and help me clear out the freezer.
 I want to share with you one of the recipes I tried this week. It is from the cook book "America's Best Lost Recipes" by cook's country. I love food with a history, so along with a short story there is some old recipe your grandpa used to talk about. I also love molasses, which is why I tried the Joe Froggers recipe first. Joe Froggers come from 200 years ago in Marble head Massachusetts and Joe's tavern--owned by Joseph Brown, a freed slave and Revolutionary war veteran. Apparently his signature rum and salt water made the cookies amazing. A molasses cookie is always perfect for fall, and although I can't vouch for the authenticity of this recipe, I can say that I love them. Soft and chewy and beautifully brown. I made some considerable alterations, which I will include in the recipe below. Namely I used a combo of black-strap molasses and dark molasses. The cookbook warns against this--but I didn't notice anything off. The dark molasses gives a beautiful color and a bit of a smoky flavor. If of course you hate molasses--I don't know why are you are still reading-- you can use light molasses. Also, the rum and the salt flavor is essential--so find some rum or use a decent amount of extract. Without it the cookies would just be your average (albeit flat and soft) ginger cookie. 
joe froggers recipe | dearsweetwood.com

The recipe also calls for the dough to be rolled out and cut into 3 1/2 " circles. I really dislike rolling out cookies, especially rolling out sticky dough. Plus this dough spreads out enough that it doesn't really matter, so instead I scooped the soft dough onto the pan, and pressed them flat with a floured cup. Easier right? Or is that just me.
Joe Froggers Recipe | dearsweetwood.com
The end cookie is chewy, soft, butterscotchy and dark. I find them slightly addicting, I'm convincing myself it is the ridiculous amount of iron from the blackstrap molasses that my body craves, but we all know I just want a cookie.

1 1/2 Tablespoon rum extract
scant 1/3 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups flour *
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 cup molasses *
1 teaspoon baking soda
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar

Stir the rum extract, water and salt in a small bowl until the salt dissolves.
Whisk the flour and spices in a medium bowl
Stir the molasses and baking soda in a large measuring cup, and let it sit until doubled in volume (about 10 minutes)
With an electric mixer on medium-high beat the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the rum mixture.
Add the flour mix and the molasses mix alternately in 2 batches, scraping down the bowl as needed.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until stiff, at least 8 hours or up to 3 days.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat. Make 6 cookies per sheet (they will spread) and scoop the dough (about 2 tablespoons) on to the parchment. With the bottom of a floured cup press the dough down so that it is about 1/4" thick.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the cookies are set and the first cracks start to appear
Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes so they can finish to set.

Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

* I used 3 3/4 cup of flour, the dough was still very sticky-- but without the extra flour my dough looked like cake batter.
* original recipe calls for mild molasses, I used half dark, half black strap and an extra tablespoon of sugar. The darker the molasses, the less sugar in the molasses.

Option: you can put 2 pans in the oven at the same time, just be sure to rotate. Also the silpat cookies will take longer to bake then the parchment paper cookies.

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