The other day we went to Costco. You know, to pick up our usual; an 18-pack of assorted Sharpies, raw almonds, C-batteries, avocados and the VP's Halloween costume (he will be a chicken, in case you are wondering).
When all of a sudden we beheld a curious sight...CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS (a super tasteful life-size deer with frosted white lights, in case you are wondering again). Like, wait, really? Is it really almost Christmas? No. Seriously.
Is it just us or does Christmas get earlier and earlier? And earlier? Does everyone always say that? It's because it's true and people are scared. They are scared for the day that back-to-school actually means dress up like your favorite reindeer. It's coming. Watch out.
Anyhoo. Mummy always called us "a marketing man's dream" because we would literally want anything and everything advertised on television. We bought into all the hype. Hook, line and sinker. In fact, the PIN channel (Paid Infomercial Network) was one of our favs...Micro-Nose Hair Trimmers? Genius. CLR? A must-have.
So you will be surprised to hear, Muffins, that the presence of Christmas decor at Costco absolutely put us in the Christmas spirit...in October. Side note, we feel really badly for Thanksgiving. It totally gets the SHAFT! No one even cares about Thanksgiving. It's all Christmas all the time with some candy and costumes thrown in for about 1 week. Poor Thanksgiving. Nobody puts Baby in the corner. Or something like that.
But, clearly we are not at the Christmas present shopping stage yet (though we definitely have our gift lists to hand out to anyone willing to receive it...and, um, buy us stuff) but we sort of feel like we could maybe be at the baking stage.
Yes, it's only October but there are some Christmas things that overlap? Right? We're not talking candy cane bark or anything but something Fall-ish like these fabulous, photogenic Molasses Cookies? Not only do they look pretty and festive but they taste delish too, are super easy to make and they are just the right amount of Christmas in October.
Makes about 20 cookies
Adapted from Elinor Klivans
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) cold vegetable shortening
1 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/4 cup more for rolling
1 cold large egg
1/4 cup molasses
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sift or whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together the shortening and sugar until smooth with no lumps. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure everything is well combined. On low speed, add the egg and the molasses. Scrape the sides of the bowl again. Keep the mixer on low speed and gradually add in the dry ingredients until blended.
The cold shortening is what makes the cookies crispy on the outside but chewy on the inside and keeps them nice and fat, so, working quickly, scoop 2 tablespoon pieces of dough and roll them into balls about the size of a ping-pong ball, roll them in the extra 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and place a few inches apart on the cookie sheets. Bake them one cookie sheet at a time for about 18 minutes or until the tops are cracked. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and serve with some Christmas music.