Plan Ahead Freeze the dough at least 8 hours ahead of baking the cookies.
|bleached all-purpose flour|
|fine sea salt||.|
|freshly ground black pepper||.|
|unsalted butter (65° to 75°F/19° to 23°C)|
|molasses, preferably Grandma’s light|
|Demerara or pearl sugar|
Two 15 by 12 inch cookie sheets, lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray and then wiped to give a thin coating | One 12 by 1⅝ (measured from the inside) cardboard tube from a paper towel roll, cut into quarters (or four 3 inch lengths of PVC plastic piping) | A heavy sharp knife with a 1½ to 2 inch wide blade, preferably a cleaver
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and pepper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and creamy, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Scrape in the molasses and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Detach the flat beater and use it to stir in the flour mixture until moistened. Reattach the flat beater and beat on low speed until evenly incorporated, about 15 seconds. The dough will resemble a thick, fluffy buttercream.
Scrape the dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap. Use the plastic wrap to knead the dough a few times until it becomes one smooth piece. Wrap the dough loosely with the plastic wrap and flatten it into a 5 by 4 inch rectangle. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour, or until firm enough to shape. (An instant-read thermometer should read below 63°F/17°C.)
Divide the dough into quarters, about
If not using the cardboard tube, roll the dough logs to about
The unbaked dough can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and
In a small bowl, place the Demerara sugar.
Remove 1 of the frozen dough logs from the freezer and let it soften slightly. Cut 15 to 17 slices, each ⅛ inch thick. While you are cutting the dough, the log will start to flatten. Simply roll it lightly to maintain the round shape. Set the dough rounds
Set the cookie sheet on a wire rack and let the cookies cool for about 1 minute, or just until they can be lifted without distorting their shapes. Use a pancake turner to lift the cookies onto another wire rack. (Do not leave them on the cookie sheet because they will continue to bake and become too brittle.)
While each batch of cookies is baking, remove the next dough log to soften and slice the dough for the next batch.
Airtight: room temperature, 1 month; refrigerated, 3 months; frozen, 6 months.
Copyright © 2014 by Cordon Rose, LLC. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.