Joe Froggers is the name of an old-fashioned molasses cookie that’s classic in New England. The story goes, a fisherman named Uncle Joe, from Marblehead, Mass., lived by a large frog pond. He made the best molasses cookies in town and people called them “Joe Froggers” because they were plump and dark like the little frogs in the pond.
Joe’s fisherman friends asked him to bake cookies for them to take to sea because the cookies stayed soft. Uncle Joe was quite steadfast about giving away his recipe and claimed he put seawater in the cookies to keep them moist. After his passing, his daughter gave the recipe to another fisherman’s wife; the recipe has been duplicated and passed on through the years.
My version is a spicy, chewy, crackle-topped ginger molasses cookie, just perfect with a glass of milk or cup of ginger tea. I have added minced candied ginger, pecans and raisins. They taste even better a few days after they are made, because the spices have more time to meld.
Espresso powder gives the cookie a nice dark color and cuts the sweetness without adding much coffee taste. I have added finely chopped raisins to this recipe for even more chew. Drizzle on a vanilla icing if you like.
Ginger Molasses Spice Cookies With Pecans, Raisins and Espresso
⅓ cup old-fashioned rolled oats, coarsely ground
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
½ cup candied ginger, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground dried ginger
½ teaspoon espresso powder, optional
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter, softened
1 large egg
⅓ cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
¼ cup raisins, coarsely chopped
For the topping: ½ cup turbinado or Demerara sugar
To the bowl of a food processor, add the oats and pulse just a few times to coarsely grind. Remove to a large mixing bowl. To the bowl of the same food processor, add ¼ cup sugar and the pieces of candied ginger. Pulse a few times to finely grind. Remove to the large mixing bowl and whisk in the flour, cinnamon, allspice, ground dried ginger, espresso powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and remaining sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, molasses and vanilla extract and beat just until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
On low speed, add the flour mixture and beat just until a dough forms, about 1 minute. Add the pecans and raisins and beat just until mixed in. Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour to firm up.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper. Add the turbinado or Demerara sugar to a small shallow bowl. Form the cookie dough using a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop into balls and then roll in the sugar mixture.
Evenly space eight cookies on each cookie sheet, then flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake two sheets at a time for 10 to 14 minutes depending on how soft or crisp you like your cookies. A shorter bake time will make a softer cookie, longer a crisper cookie. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Cool on the pan for 15 minutes or until firm. Cool completely before storage at room temperature.
Makes about 32 cookies.
Source: Lorraine Fina Stevenski
Lorraine Fina Stevenski is a self-taught baker and award-winning recipe contest addict. This column features recipes that have been entered in contests across America and updated for readers who love to bake. Check out what she’s cooking and creating right now on her Facebook page, LORRAINE FINA STEVENSKI. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.