Ginger Pennies

By popular request, here is my adaptation of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Ginger Pennies from Rose’s Christmas Cookies, my most-used cookbook ever. This book is so beloved that it is no longer a book, but a pack of loose pages.

Piping out these cookies is tedious, but they are delicious – crisp, buttery, and flavorful – and worth the effort.

  • 1-1/2 c bleached all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 c unsulfured molasses (preferably Grandma’s brand)
  • 12 Tbs unsalted butter (1-1/2 sticks) (don’t substitute another fat)
  • Equipment: buttered or greased cookie sheets (strongly suggest you use insulated sheets, not the thin ones); reclosable gallon-size freezer bag or a pastry bag and 1/4″ tip.

    Place 2 oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

    To mix the dough in a food processor:

    In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, and salt until they’re mixed evenly.

    Process the sugar, egg, and molasses in the food processor. Cut the butter into 1″ pieces and add to the processor with the motor running. Process until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula if necessary. Pulse in the dry ingredients until well blended.

    To mix the dough in an electric mixer:

    Soften the butter to room temperature. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, and salt until evenly mixed.

    In the mixer bowl, cream together the sugar, egg, molasses, and softened butter. Add the dry ingredients on low speed until well blended.

    Forming the cookies:

    Scrape the mixture into the gallon freezer bag, close securely, and cut off the corner of the bag to create a 1/4″ diameter hole (or you may use a pastry bag with a 1/4″ round tip). Pipe very small 1/2″ mounds on a lightly greased cookie sheet about 1″ apart. The small peaks that form on the mounds are ok. (If you want to use parchment instead of greasing the sheets, tape the parchment down while you’re piping. If you don’t, the parchment lifts up with each piping and this slows you down a lot. Parchment seems to yield slightly better shaped cookies.)

    Bake for about 5 minutes or until browned. For even baking, rotate the cookie sheets from top to bottom and front to back half way through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 3 minutes then slide them off onto wire racks to cool and crisp. Keep them separate as they are cooling or they will stick together. If they don’t get crisp, add bake for just a little longer, but don’t let them burn.

    Allow the baking sheets to cool completely before using for the next batch.

    Store in an airtight container at room temperature. They will keep several months at low humidity.

    Yields 25 dozen tiny cookies.

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