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Molasses cookies are surely the most ubiquitous cookie in any New England cookbook you happen to leaf through. They're more venerable than those newcomers, Toll House (chocolate chip) cookies which, after all, are only about 65 years old.
The addition of rum to these spicy cookies helps keep them soft, and also qualifies them for a special name: Joe Froggers. Legend has it that an old man named Joe, who lived by a frog pond in Marblehead, Massachusetts, was famous for his chewy molasses cookies. One day, in thanks to a neighbor for the gift of a jug of rum, he added some of that spirit to a batch of his molasses cookie dough, then gave the cookies to the generous neighbor. Eureka! A rum-laced molasses cookie that quickly earned a great reputation around town and was christened with the name of its creator.
To keep these cookies soft, we recommend storing them in an airtight container (a plastic bag is fine) as soon as they're just barely warm. Add a couple of slices of cut apple if you plan on keeping them around long.
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons (2 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
1/2 cup (6 ounces) molasses
1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) dark rum
Whisk together the flour, spices, salt and baking soda, and set aside. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar, then beat in the molasses. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the rum.
Using a cookie or muffin scoop, scoop out round balls of dough somewhere in size between a ping-pong ball and a golf ball, and place the balls on a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Bake the cookies in a preheated 375°F oven for 11 to 12 minutes, until they crack on top but haven't yet browned around the edges. Yield: 2 dozen 3" cookies.
Nutrition information per serving (1 cookie, 37g): 137 cal, 3.3g fat, 1g protein, 10g complex carbohydrates, 13g sugar, 2g alcohol, 9mg cholesterol, 96mg sodium, 62mg potassium, 32RE vitamin A, 1mg iron, 35mg calcium, 17mg phosphorus.