I made pumpkin oatmeal spice cookies the other day, thinking that they would epitomize fall and everything that I love about it. They came out kind of dry and tasteless. Just not good enough to stand for my favorite season, and now that more people than just my mom (hi Mom!) read my blog, I try to post recipes that I’d actually like people to make, not ones for dry and tasteless orange cookies.
With my grandpa’s 80th birthday celebration coming up this weekend, I decided now would be the perfect time to try another cookie. My mom gave me a cookie press (or cooky press, as this brand calls it) that was my grandmother’s, and I just knew that it was destined I use it to make the perfect fall cookie (cooky!).
This recipe came from the Mirro Cooky Press instruction booklet, and can be just as easily made as a drop cookie if you don’t happen to have a vintage cooky press lying around.
Grandma’s Cooky Press Ginger Snaps
- 3/4 C butter (the recipe called for shortening–see my note below on this)
- 3/4 C brown sugar
- 3/4 C molasses
- 1 egg
- 3 C all-purpose flour (it’s important to spoon the flour into the measuring cups, not scoop it, or the dough will be too dense)
- 1 1/2 t baking soda
- 1 t cinnamon
- 1 t ginger
- 1/4 t cloves
- 1/4 t salt
- sugar to sprinkle
My note on the butter/shortening thing: when making cooky press cookies, shortening will help the cookies hold their shape better as they bake, but I think that butter…tastes better. Duh. I decided to risk it and use butter (fridge temperature to start!), and they turned out fine. I might try a half and half mixture next time to get a little better shape with the buttery taste.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Putting the cookies into a hot oven also helps them hold their shape better. Cream the butter and sugar (butter starting at fridge temp, not room temp) until fluffy, then add the molasses and the egg. Blend well, then add the dry ingredients slowly until a fluffy dough has formed. The dough should not be crumbly, if it is–you’ve added too much flour. You can try to compensate with an egg yolk.
Fill the cookie press with dough and screw in whichever lid you want to use. On an ungreased cookie sheet, allow the three feet of the cookie press to rest evenly, and turn the screw handle until the dough squeezes out. You’ll have to try a few times to see how much dough makes a cookie shape that you want. Wait a second or two for the dough to stick to the sheet, then left the cooky press away from the sheet. It should leave behind a beautifully shaped little cookie. Sprinkle with sugar (I used some lavendar sugar for a sweet twist).
Bake on the middle rack for about 10-12 minutes, until they start to firm up. For soft ginger snaps, take out a bit earlier. I started with soft ones, then changed my mind and put them right back in the oven for a few more minutes.
Don’t forget–even if you want hard cookies, they’ll still be soft when you take them out of the oven. Let them cool on the cookie sheet before you can tell if they are perfect. Better to put them back in for a few minutes then to burn them the first time around!
I tried a few shapes–thin bars, swirls, a dog, hearts, diamonds, and small stars. My favorite for this cookie was the thin bar–it baked quickly into a thin and crisp treat, perfect for a ginger snap.
The prettiest shape was probably the swirlies. I can’t wait to try more of these cookies (especially for Christmas!), and to experiment with different butter/shortening combos. The best part was that using the press was super fast and easier than using cookie cutters, ’cause there’s no scraps to re-roll and re-cut. Changing plates mid-batch is a piece of cake, too.
Also–I forgot how much I love ginger snaps! These are crispy, crunchy, tasty bites of fall perfection wrapped up in molasses and ginger. Could it get any better?
Good riddance, dry pumpkin oatmeal cookies.
Oh, and remember that glass of milk that was in some of those above photos? When I started putting things away, I left the milk out unattended so I could drink it once everything was in its rightful place. Henry beat me to it.
It was difficult to yell at him since he looked hysterical frantically licking milk out of the glass as fast as possible before I noticed, getting it all over everything in the process. Look at how much he drank! Oops.