Molasses Ginger Cookies came about because of a fabulous trip to visit the Biltmore Estate is Asheville, North Carolina.
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This beautiful home is wonderful to visit any time of the year, but at Christmas it’s magical. First opened to the public in 1930, this 175,000 square foot “private house” built by George Vanderbilt between 1889-1895, is decorated from top to bottom with garlands, ribbon and lights, with gorgeously decorated Christmas trees in every room – some of them so large that they hold full sized presents on their boughs.
But being a foodie, I was naturally drawn to the kitchens when I visited there. Maybe because of the history of the house itself, or maybe because of Downton Abby, the TV series. That series reminded me so much of Biltmore Estate.
Like Downton Abby many guests came to visit the Biltmore Estate and that meant a massive amount of food prep. But unlike Downton Abby, Biltmore was built with several pantries and 3 kitchens. Today you can visit the main kitchen which provided meals for the family, the guests and the servants as well as the Rotisserie Kitchen, for all the meats and finally the Pastry Kitchen, for all the desserts.
At Christmas time, the chefs of Biltmore get busy and create an exact replica of the Biltmore House in gingerbread for all the visitors to see. This huge house covers the entire pastry counter and the fabulous smell of gingerbread is everywhere.
Since that visit I’ve learned to love gingerbread from making houses to making ginger cookies. My staple from year to year is Ginger Crinkle Cookies, but this year wanted to change it up a bit. Usually my Ginger cookies are flat and very crispy – more like ginger snaps.
But I wanted something softer, so I changed the recipe a bit and added more baking soda and more spices which now results in a lighter, more flavorful cookie. The best part is that when these new cookies are baking, it reminds me of the gingerbread fragrance at Biltmore.
Thought I’d test them out with my chief taster, George. I gave him the whole batch to take to work. He said they were a such a hit that they were all gone within an hour.
Molasses Ginger Cookies
- 2 1/4 Cups Flour
- 1 3/4 Tsp Baking Soda
- 1 Tsp Cinnamon Ground
- 2 Tsp Ginger Ground
- 1/2 Tsp Cloves Ground
- 1/4 Tsp Allspice Ground
- 3/4 Cup Butter Cubed
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Molasses
- 1/4 Tsp White Vinegar
- 1 Egg
- 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar Optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and allspice in a bowl.
- To a larger bowl add butter and brown sugar and beat well until mixture is well blended. Add in molasses, egg and vinegar and continue mixing until blended.
- Add flour mixture a little at a time and mix with each addition until all is incorporated.
- Add granulated sugar in a bowl and powdered sugar in separate bowl.
- Roll dough into walnut size balls, then roll in granulated sugar and place on baking sheet. Continue placing sugar coated rolls on sheet 2” apart.
- Optional: Roll second half of dough in powdered sugar and again place on second baking pan 2” apart.
- Bake 11-12 minutes until tops of cookies crack. Remove to a wire rack and cool.