the man with the tattooed face {and ginger molasses sandwich cookies}

i had my headphones in so i didn’t hear him come up from behind me. i jumped out at the sound of:

“is that your dog?” he shouted from his huge, raised-way-to-high-truck. i put my hand to my chest being intentionally dramatic.  

“she's my dog on good days.” i joked. 

he laughed. “hey is she a girl?” he asked referring to my dog. i nodded, “yeah she’s a girl.” i shouted back. his truck was loud. (how did i not hear that?)

“i think i might own her brother! i just got a frenchie too, black and white spots just like her and i was told he has a sister living in this area.” 

you know how people say they look like their dogs? i’m always a little wary to agree with this, because well, sundae (my french bulldog) is a very muscular, black and white patterned sweetheart who loves gourmet food, and can be as particular as hell. she also loves to cuddle, has a very happy temperament and both hates to be alone and craves to be alone and loves to play. 

and i guess there you sort of have me in a nutshell.

but this guy, this large, tough looking man owning a chubby roly-poly-like french bulldog? i couldn't really picture it, BUT if there’s one thing i’ve learned about this type of dog, it knows no prejudice. it attracts just about anyone from the rock, to lady gaga, to this guy. i guess come to think of it if the rock has one, why not him right?

because this guy, had a beard and a gnarly tattoo on the side of his face. his tattoo made it especially hard for me to tell his age, or concentrate on what he was saying because i kept thinking of ed helms in the movie “The Hangover” where he wakes up with a mike tyson face tattoo. 

we exchanged where we got our puppies, and we determined they were most likely not brother and sister. he seemed disappointed. we chatted for a bit longer.  

he was just about to drive away when he said, “they’re not very cuddly dogs are they? i can get my other two bulldogs to cuddle and watch t.v. with me no problem but my new frenchie, man he won’t cuddle with me at all. makes me sad.” i frowned and conveyed my empathy - i told him my pup (sundae) was actually quite cuddly, and loved to sleep on us while we watched movies. he was surprised by this and joked, “too bad i didn’t get your dog then!” 

as he drove away i finished my walk with sundae smiling because the thought of a huge, burly bearded, truck driving, tattooed face man surrounded by his bulldogs cuddling with him on the couch, made my day.  how quick i am to assume sometimes, when really, we’re all the same inside. we all want and need to be loved… and cuddled.

ginger molasses sandwich cookies 

makes about 25-ish small sandwich cookies, all depending on how big you make them. 

adapted from lisa dupar, who calls these “crack cookies” because they’re so addictive, author of fried chicken and champagne.

to me, the beauty of a molasses cookie is it has to be chewy, not too sweet and have that hidden bite of fresh ginger. these ginger cookies are a bit more special than most as they are filled with the simplest cream cheese filling, a welcoming surprise that helps mellow out that gingery bite and add some savoriness to the sweet sugar sprinkling. what i love about molasses cookies is they usually show no prejudice. they seem to attract both the chocolate chip cookie lover or the pure sugar cookie lover, loving all and all loving them in return. ;) xo 

note: i made these both with regular organic unbleached all purpose flour, and a separate batch of gluten-free cookies using bob’s red mill “one to one” gluten free flour. The gluten free cookies were a little flatter and slightly more delicate than the regular, but still awesome and held together beautifully. also, these are still so good without the cream cheese filling if you’re feeling a bit lazy and want to skip that part. i have to say it is fun though, both to eat and to give a homemade, cream filled cookie. xo 

ps. don’t be daunted by the list of ingredients, they are most likely spices you have lying around in your cupboard. if you find that you don’t have ground cloves or nutmeg, i wouldn’t stress. i think the real stars here are the molasses, ginger and cinnamon, so as long as those guys make it in, you should be okay. ;) 

 

½ cup / 1 stick / 113g organic, unsalted butter, softened to room temperature 

½ cup / 110g dark brown sugar (preferably organic) 

½ cup / 100g sugar

1 egg

½ cup / 170g unsulfured blackstrap molasses 

1 tablespoon honey

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla  

1 ½ teaspoons freshly grated ginger root (if using gluten free flour, use omit ½ a teaspoon) 

2 ¼ cup / 156g organic all purpose or *bob’s one to one gluten free flour (if using gluten free flour you may need to add a tablespoon or so more flour and dough must be chilled before baking) 

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda 

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon powdered ginger

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon nutmeg 

teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon sea salt / kosher salt 

 

to roll the little dough balls:

1 teaspoon cinnamon 

½ cup / 100g organic sugar 

 

for the filling:

8 ounces / 1 box / 227g cream cheese, at room temperature 

½ cup / 60g powdered sugar

½ tablespoon vanilla

 

With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg and beat until incorporated. 

Add all of your wet ingredients (molasses, honey, vanilla, ginger root) to the butter/sugar/egg mixture and mix until combined. 

Combine all of your dry ingredients (flour, soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, salt)  in a separate bowl, whisk until combined, then slowly add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredient mixture, slowly mixing and adding until combined. 

If you can,  this cookie is best with the dough chilled overnight, but if you don’t have the patience for that, don’t fret, the cookies just won’t turn out quite as crackly. *if you're making these with gluten free flour, chilling the dough is a must, i'm sorry, but trust me, it will be worth it. 

Preheat your oven to 350° F / 180° C, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Roll the dough into little 1 or 2 inch balls then roll each ball around in the sugar + cinnamon mixture. 

Place dough balls on a cookies sheet at least 1 to 2 inches apart, pressing the top down just a bit with your thumb. 

Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, until just done. I think one of the joys of a molasses cookie is their chewy moist texture, which is usually achieved with a perfectly cooked, almost slightly underdone cookie. They should look a tiny bit wet, but still a tiny bit cracked when you take them out of the oven. 

To make filling: 

Whip cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla in an electric mixture. Beat until fluffy and combined. Can be made at least 2 days ahead. 

Spread the filling between two cookies of your choice, trying to match up the most compatible cookies based on size. ;) Place 1 to 2 teaspoons of filling per 2 cookies. 

Happy note: These are still fantastic the day after their baked!  

why is this good for me? 

dark molasses:  is one of the only sweeteners that is crazy rich in minerals: calcium, potassium and iron. but take care not to buy or use just any molasses; blackstrap + unsulfured molasses is richest in this good-for-you mineral content.  

ginger: ah ginger. ginger is one of my all time favorite ingredients - not only for it's flavor but for it's health properties. ginger has been known to reduce nausea from morning sickness to motion sickness or chemotherapy. it stimulates digestion and increases circulation. it's been known to normalize blood pressure, and decongest ones throat and lungs from the flu.