Thursday, December 19, 2013

Japancakes, As You Wish

Pop quiz:  How is a pizza like a pancake?*

I'll give you a hint, they both also have something in common with a salad and with the recipe below.

Give up?

I'd claim that each of these are incredibly simple in their purest form, and yet are limited only by the cook's imagination.  Ricotta pancakes?  Sure, why not!  Mayonnaise pizza?  Surprising, perhaps, but not actually all that bad.  I've had weirder.

Okonomiyaki, what I call Japancake, is a similar kind of food.  The Japanese name tells you everything you need to know.  The okonomi (お好み) part means "as you like it," and yaki (焼き) - the same yaki in teriyaki, and yakisoba, by the by - tells you it's grilled.  I've also heard okonomiyaki called Japanese pizza or Japanese fritters.

Japancake is a grilled-to-order fast food that is deceptively comprised of more veggies than carbs.   They're often found in festival stalls, at least in my experience, and every here and there one can find them in restaurants, particularly in places like Osaka and Hiroshima.  My first experience of okonomiyaki was with some friends at a specialty restaurant where we simply picked what we wanted off the menu (not unlike picking pizza toppings) and then everything was brought to us raw, in a bowl, with the batter alongside.  Cooking your own dinner is kind of a thing there,  you see.  So I watched in fascination as my friends showed me how to mix it all up and slap it on the griddle, then cover it with mayonnaise (it's a very popular condiment), a kind of barbecue sauce, seaweed, and fish flakes.

If I had you up until the mayo and fish flakes, hang in there.  That's the joy of Japancakes: the whole point is they are made as you like them.  Hate mayo and fish?  Unsure about seaweed on junk food?  Leave them out!  It's your dinner, after all.

The base of a Japancake is usually the same.  It's a very runny basic batter over shredded cabbage.  Now, before you feel disappointed because you hate cabbage, let me ask you: what dishes are you thinking of that make you hate it?  If it's something with a strong smell or flavor like stuffed cabbage, kraut, or coleslaw that you're picturing, your problem might not be cabbage itself but rather the way it's made.  The cabbage in Japancakes is crisper and leafier, closer to a lettuce flavor, than in most dishes we're familiar with in the west.

But hey, here's the kicker.  Remember the okonomi part?  This dish is all about doing things your own way.  If cabbage isn't your thing, swap it out for some other shredded veggie.  I usually make mine a mix of half cabbage and half other fillings, as you'll see below.  Suit yourself!  Really!

A quick version of the recipe is at the bottom of the post, as usual.

Japancakes (Okonomiyaki)

Total Real Time:  20-30 minutes, tops, including vegetable shredding and pre-cooking meats.

Weirdest ingredient:  bonito flakes.

Like breakfast pancakes, these come together really fast once you have the ingredients gathered up.

Step one is to make your batter and let it sit to rest for a minute or two while you get your other bits together.  Now, in Japanese markets - or occasionally other Asian grocery stores here in the States - you can buy specialty okonomiyaki flour.  It's regular flour with things like grated yam, MSG, and sometimes fish flavorings in it.  Mine had expired (I make Japancakes maybe twice a year), so I tossed it and used whole wheat flour instead.  I can't honestly say I felt robbed of any particular experience.  If you buy okonomiyaki flour there will be instructions on the back for how much flour, egg, and liquid to use.  Since I went with whole wheat flour I'll give you my measurements.  If you use white flour, just scale back the liquid a bit since whole wheat flour is thirstier than white.

For three pancakes (which ended up being my dinner and two lunches) I used one-half cup of whole wheat flour with a generous pinch of salt, two eggs, and one-half cup of water.  If you have dashi (a kind fish stock) or vegetable stock on hand and want to use that, go ahead.  Just omit the salt.  Whisk all that up and put it aside.

As I mentioned above, you could go as simple as just cabbage, or you can get crazy.

I didn't actually use the yam.  That made it into the picture because in my exuberance I grabbed everything in my produce basket.  You could use a yam or potato, I suppose, though you'd want to cook it first.  The shrimp in the picture are precooked, deveined, and shelled.  Imagine that you're making a salad.  You don't want to put anything into a Japancake that you're not willing to eat raw, since it doesn't actually cook for all that long.

First I shredded the cabbage.  It was a small head to begin with, and I used maybe 1/5th or 1/6th of it.

If you don't want to use other veggies, then double up on the cabbage.  I also julienned up some summer squash:

And very, very finely shredded some carrot, red onion, and bell pepper:

All in all I probably had around 2-3 cups of filling.

Depending on what's in season, at other times I've also been known to add spinach, zucchini, sausage, avocado, corn, black beans, salmon, basil, sautéed mushrooms, salmon, beets, eggplant, artichoke, brussels sprouts, okra, kale, or scallions.  If it's a veggie, shred it super thin.  If it's a meat or tuber, cook it first.  Again, it's all up to you.

Speaking of cooking it first, I wanted some junk in my junkfood.  So I diced up a slice of bacon and fried that up:

I added that to the bowl with the veggies and shrimp, and then poured the batter on top.

Mix it all up, just enough to coat the veggies.  If you've got too much filling then whip up a little extra batter.  You're looking for enough to coat the veggies and make them stick together.

Then grab a big spoonful and plop it onto a skillet that's been heating on medium-high with a splash of oil.  Against my better judgement I used the oil left over from the bacon, but typically I'll use a tiny spritz of olive oil mixed with an even smaller spritz of sesame oil.  If you've got a really good nonstick pan you might not need oil at all.

What you're going for is a salad that's stuck together by the batter.  Press it down to be rather flat, since otherwise it'll be hard for the batter in the middle to get fully cooked.

About 5-10 minutes on a side should do it, until it's golden brown on both sides.

Now, the first time you try this I'd suggest leaving the toppings off altogether and just enjoying it for what it is.  But if you're willing to go whole-hog, what you'll want are Kewpie mayonnaise, okonomiyaki sauce, dried bonito flakesseaweed, and red pickled ginger.  These can all usually be found in Japanese groceries and some Asian markets.  If you don't have them on hand, you could try regular mayo and possibly even jury-rig up some okonomiyaki sauce using 3 parts ketchup to 1 part worcestershire and 1 part soy sauce (e.g. 3 tsp ketchup, 1 tsp worcestershire,  1 tsp soy sauce).  Or heck, be creative.  One time I put sesame salad dressing on it.  This dish is your playground.  I give you permission to do as you please.

Everything but the mayo for me, please!  I love watching the bonito flakes "dance" in the steam from the Japancake.

*Trivia:  Although the Mad Hatter's riddle was originally written to have no answer at all, Carroll's answer to why a raven was like a writing desk was published in a later edition as follows:  "Because it can produce a few notes, though they are very flat; and it is nevar put with the wrong end in front!

Okonomiyaki Recipe

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup water plus a dash of salt, or stock without added salt  (NOTE: if using white flour, start with 1/4 cup of liquid and gradually add more until batter is runny but not watery)
  • 2 eggs (can use any desired substitute)
  • 2-3 cups shredded vegetables (recommended: at least 1 cup thinly shredded cabbage)
  • 1/4 cup salad shrimp, deveined, cooked, and peeled
  • 1 slice bacon, cubed and cooked
  • other fillings as desired


  1. Whisk together water, liquid, and eggs and set aside.
  2. Separately cook any vegetables or meats that cannot be eaten raw and place together in a large mixing bowl with raw shredded vegetables.
  3. Pour batter over fillings and stir to coat.
  4. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet on medium-high.  Portion out 1/4 to 1/3 of the mixture into the skillet, forming a flat pancake.  Be careful not to pile the pancake too high or the middle will not cook properly.  Thinner is better.
  5. Cook 5-10 minutes on a side, or until each side is golden brown and the pancake is cohesive.
  6. If desired, top with okonomiyaki sauce, Kewpie mayonnaise, bonito flakes, seaweed, and/or red pickled ginger.  
  7. Serve hot.  Pairs well with yakisoba.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Egg Curry

I only make egg curry about 2-3 times a year.  Not because it's not delicious, but because I seldom think of eggs as anything but brunch food.  When planning meals I run through a mental decision tree that altogether forgets that eggs are just as valid a protein choice as meat or legumes.  In truth they can be a lovely addition to the rotation.  In a week or three I'll post a recipe for Japanese chicken omelet rice that proves just how versatile eggs can be in dinner dishes.

The advantage this recipe has over some of my other curry recipes is that it all comes together in about 45-60 minutes.  Not bad!

You know the drill: skip to the bottom for the quickie version of the recipe.

Basic Egg Curry
Total Real Time:  45-60 minutes, depending on how long it takes you to puree onions/tomatoes and how long it takes the sauce to finish simmering.

Weirdest Ingredient:  Mango powder, also called amchur/amchoor powder.

It turns out there are loads of variants on egg curries.  Like the turkey curry from earlier this month, this one has a tomato and onion base.  Coming up fairly soon I'll share with you a recipe with a coconut base, just so you don't think that tomatoes and onions are the only way to go.

To help cut down on cooking time I blended up the onions and the tomatoes.  Keep in mind that this totally changes the texture from the "mince & slow-cook" method we saw with the turkey curry and spiced lentils recipes.  Since eggs are smooth and almost creamy, the pureed onions help to a little texture.

I started by chunking up two whole onions and two green chili peppers, but I froze a bunch of the onion paste for future recipes.   If you're making it just for this recipe with no intent to freeze the extras, just go with maybe half an onion and one green chili (adjusted for your own spiciness preferences).  Remember: gloves are your friend whenever you're chopping chilis, even the very mild ones.

Pop 'em in the processor and mush it into goo.

Onions are naturally watery, so you shouldn't need to add water or oil to make them come together into a paste.  Here's what mine looked like when it was done:

Add more chilis if you like heat.

I put the onion paste aside - to be used in just a minute - and then did the same thing with a handful of roma tomatoes.  Again, I froze my extras, so you're not going to need as much as shown in the picture.  About two cups of tomato puree (or a can of crushed tomatoes) will do the trick.

Looks like there's been a murder.  I assure you there hasn't.

Alright, so now you've got a bunch of goop that you're ready to cook together.

You remember the weird first rule of south Asian cooking, right?  Spices go in first.  Think of it as making an on-the-fly flavored oil.

Heat one teaspoon of Oil of Choice (I used olive oil) in a saucepan on medium-high heat.  When the oil is shimmering, add one teaspoon of cumin seeds one bay leaf and heat for thirty to sixty seconds, max.  Don't let them start to smoke or turn black.  Have your onion goo ready to go.

Reminder: cumin seeds are not cumin powder.   You already knew that, though, didn't you?  You clever reader, you.

Once the cumin seeds are smelling toasty and doing their little sizzle dance, plop in your onion goo and add two to three dashes of salt.  This won't be your final amount of salt so no need to go crazy.  What the salt does at this stage - I'm leaning on my high school biology here - is to cause the water in the onions to ooze out.  That's going to help them cook a little faster.  Not a lot faster, but a tiny bit.  Every little bit counts, eh?

You'll notice the pureed onions are wet and gooey anyway.  Your mission is to stir them every minute or two on medium-high heat until you're not seeing puddles of liquid any more.  Part of that is going to happen because of heat and evaporation, and part is going to happen because of adding spices that help to soak up the moisture.  First let the onion paste cook for about 5 minutes or so, just to get the party started.

Next, add one teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon of fennel powder.

This should cause the onion paste to both change color and bind up a little.

There's still some liquid, though, can you see toward the bottom there?  So we're not quite set yet.  Add in one teaspoon each of ginger and garlic paste (seriously, there's almost nothing that doesn't call for at least one of these).  Stir and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Ginger & garlic: good in everything but cereal.

Time to add a few more spices to help bind things together a bit more.  This time up it's one teaspoon of chili powder, one teaspoon of coriander powder, and one teaspoon of turmeric powder - keeping in mind that turmeric stains everything, so don't use your favorite ladle to stir.  I've got a set of three wooden utensils that I've resigned to having ruined by turmeric.  Be cautious not to get it on clothes or even skin; it takes for-freaking-ever to scrub off.

I used two teaspoons of chili powder.  Use as much or as little as suits you.

Cultural tidbit:  Some South Asian cultures have a wedding tradition of using turmeric paste on their skin to help them achieve a yellowish glow.  On someone my shade (think Slavic-Irish blonde), however, turmeric stains look like jaundice.

Give it another 5 or so minutes to cook the spices and evaporate the last of the onion puddles, then add your tomato goop.  No need to go for bone dry or scorched, just push the onions to one side and make sure that no juices are leaking out.

Note that the onion & spices look clumpy rather than soupy.

At this point turn down the heat to a low medium and stir everything together.  Tomatoes, like milk, are high in sugar so they're less tolerant of high temperatures, meaning they can scorch easier than onions.  That's why chili and tomato sauce are best slow-cooked on a low flame.  It helps avoid having everything come out tasting like old cigars.

About 10-20 minutes ought to do it.  Just be sure to stir from time to time.  Turn it down to a simmer if it starts to bubble.

When the tomatoes have had a chance to cook, add about 2-3 cups of water or stock (I used some frozen vegetable stock I had, which added about 10 minutes of cook time for me), a small handful of fenugreek leaves, one teaspoon of garam masala, and half a teaspoon of mango ("amchur/amchoor") powder.  The mango powder will impart a slightly citrusy, almost sour taste to the curry.  This helps balance with the richness of the eggs, but if you're not a fan of sour notes then go ahead and leave that bit out. If you haven't got mango powder on hand - and you probably don't - substituting a little squeeze of lime juice can get you close to the same effect.  Start small, taste as you go.  Adding a tiny dash of sugar can counteract it if you've added too much.

Crush the fenugreek leaves between your palms to help release the flavor.

Once the stock is in you can turn the heat back up to a high medium flame.  When it starts to boil - remember to stir now and then - turn it down to a simmer, cover, and let it cook.  Twenty minutes should do it.  If you're adding in vegetables or tofu that need time to soak up the flavor, add those in now.  Otherwise we're going to add the eggs in last, just as we take this off the heat.

Tofu for me, eggs for Doc.

Now, while that's doing its thing you can boil up some eggs if you don't have any hardboiled eggs handy.  Personally I find that the method of putting eggs in cold water and bringing it up to a boil makes the eggs really, really hard to peel later.  My own preferred method is to slowly lower the eggs into a boiling water (gradual immersion helps prevent cracking, since it's the fast temp change plus the jolt against the bottom that causes shells to crack), boil 10 minutes, and then immediately plop them in an ice bath to prevent the yolks from greying.  But whatever, it's pretty much impossible to get boiled eggs wrong.  Some people even bake them.

When your eggs are ready, gently cut them in half.

Resist taste-testing them unless you've made extras.

I find three eggs is plenty for two people, since that gives you six halves.  Adjust for yourself accordingly.  That's the lovely part about this curry, you can easily adjust for more/fewer people just by changing the number of eggs you add.  I used five eggs this time because I wanted to have leftovers for later in the week.

When the sauce has had time to cook, take it off the heat and add your eggs in gently.  No need to stir or cook them in, since they're already cooked.  Extra stirring/cooking at this stage will cause your yolks to dissolve, which doesn't hurt the dish but does take away from its prettiness.  


Be sure to fish out the bay leaf before serving.

Forgot it was in there, didn't you?

And then you're done!  If you want to let the eggs sit and soak in some of the sauce, feel free to do so.  It won't really hurt anything.  Add salt to taste.

You can use more sauce than this.  I skimped for the sake of photography.

I served these up over rice with a side salad and some bloomin' cauliflower (one of my favorite sides and soooo worth a try!).

His and hers!

Next up: Japancakes.  

Basic Egg Curry: The Concise Recipe
  • 1/2 onion + 1/2 green chili (or to taste), pureed together
  • 2 cups tomato puree or 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 3-4 boiled eggs, peeled and cut in half (can substitute cubed tofu or vegetables)
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp clove
  • 1/2 tsp fennel powder
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1-2 tsp red chili powder, to taste
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2-3 cups water or stock
  • small handful (around 2-3 tsp) fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp mango powder (also called amchur or amchoor powder), to taste
  • salt to taste

  1. Puree onion and green chili together in a food processor, or mince very, very finely.
  2. In a saucepan, heat oil on medium-high heat until shimmering.
  3. Add bay leaf and cumin seeds, cook 30-60 seconds or until fragrant.
  4. Add onion puree and a dash or two of salt (not the entire salt quantity for the whole dish).  Cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add cinnamon, cloves, fenugreek powder, ginger paste, and garlic paste.  Cook another 2-3 minutes; continue to stir.
  6. Add chili powder, coriander powder, and turmeric powder, stir and cook for another 5 minutes or until onion puree is no longer watery.
  7. Reduce heat to medium-low and add tomato puree.  Cook, stirring frequently, for 10-20 minutes.
  8. Add water or stock, fenugreek leaves, garam masala, and mango powder.  If adding tofu or vegetables, do so now.  Turn heat up to medium-high again and watch for a boil.  When the sauce begins to bubble, turn down to low, cover, and allow to simmer an additional 20-30 minutes.  
  9. Remove from heat and add boiled eggs.  Avoid vigorous stirring once eggs are added.  If desired, let sit 5-10 minutes to allow sauce to permeate eggs.  

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Pumpkin-Molasses Ginger Chews

There are some recipes that have childhood and comfort written all over them.  For me, my grandmother's molasses cookies are near the top of the list.  They make me think of holidays and home.  They're chewy and soft, with a snap of ginger that's perfect to warm you up on a snowy day.

Yesterday we got the first - and possibly only - substantial snowfall of the year.  Last year we shoveled all of once.  I think we did twice the year before that; usually whatever dusting we do get melts off the driveway by noon.  Though I can't say I miss the work, this New England girl does miss the unique stillness of a snowstorm.  There's something about snowstorms that makes me feel like everything is on hold.  Errands can't be run.  I can't be called in to work.  There are no priorities other than staying cozy and safe at home.  And, in yesterday's case, hop into the holiday apron Gram made me & bake some cookies.

Isn't this adorable?  Gram's so creative.

These are excellent holiday cookies.  Heck, they're excellent year-round cookies.  My Gram's original recipe didn't call for pumpkin, but I figure it not only gives me an excuse to sneak a little Vitamin A & C into Doc, but also lets me use up some of the pumpkin puree I had from the half-dozen we grew in the garden this year.  Or, truth be told, grew all over the yard.  Pumpkin vines sure do run amuck.

Our cookie jar was so lonely!

I've heard that subbing in vegan alternatives for butter & cream cheese, dropping the egg, and subtracting about a quarter cup of flour is all it takes to make this recipe vegan-friendly.  Probably makes it a lot healthier, too.  I haven't done it that way myself, though, so I can't vouch for it personally.  Drop a note in the comments if it works for you, or if you have other tips!

As always, a short version of the recipe is at the bottom.

Pumpkin-Molasses Ginger Chews

To start off, grab yourself two bowls and at least one whisk.  If you've got a mixer, attach the wire beater.  That is, unless you have an edge-scraping beater.  My mom just got me one for an early Christmas present and it is brilliant.

How did no one invent this sooner?

Okay, so in the first mixing bowl you're going to add half a cup of butter and 1 tablespoon of cream cheese.  Both the butter and the cream cheese should be room temperature.  I just leave them out the night before when I go to bed and they're set by morning.  If you wanted to set them out before work that'd do the trick, too.  The cream cheese isn't totally vital.  I add it in because of the molasses and sugar - the richness and slight tang of the cream cheese helps to temper the sweetness.

Mix them together so that they're like a fluffy paste.  Err on the side of too cold rather than too warm.  Too warm and your cookies will come out melty.  Think the kind of whipped butter you get at fancy restaurants.  What we're going to do is suspend the sugar in the butter (requires cold), rather than dissolve it (requires heat).

There we go!

Next up is one cup of sugar.  White sugar, here.  I've tried palm sugar in the past and it came out too sweet and a little gritty.  In this batch I used cane sugar from Trader Joe's.

Mixing the sugar into the butter is called "creaming" them, and is the basis for pretty much every cookie ever.  Blend it up for a few seconds until you get a thick dough base.

Next is one egg.

Beat again.  You'll find it's a bit smoother now.

Next are 1/4 cup of molasses and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

Beat that up with everything else, and now the dough will start to be the right color for molasses cookies.

Last bit.  One cup of pumpkin.  You can use canned, that's no biggie.  I'd frozen one-cup portions of pumpkin puree from our garden pumpkins.  I love having it on hand in smallish portions, 'cause I rarely am able to use up an entire can of pumpkin.

This is so, so convenient.  Give it a try when pie pumpkins are in the store.

Beat that in as well.  That'll make your dough really liquidy again.  If you're using fresh pumpkin the acidity might cause a little clotting of the dairy.  Don't panic.  It'll all come together when you add the flour.

It'll be okay.  I promise.

Now, if you happen to have some ginger paste on hand, add one tablespoon of ginger paste to the batter.  (Seriously, is there anything those pastes can't do??)  If you haven't got ginger paste, then just take a lap.  We'll put in spices in just a minute.

Double-check this isn't garlic paste or you'll be so, so sad later.

Okay, so now your "wet" batter is set.  Put that mixing bowl aside.  Since I only have one bowl for my mixer, I did the "dry" ingredients together by hand.  It's not hard, I promise.  First is 2.75 cups of flour. You can sift if you really want to, but 60 seconds with a whisk is sufficient to knock out any lumps.

It's so fluffy!

To this add:  2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon cloves, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon allspice.  Now, IF you didn't add ginger paste, add in 1.5 teaspoon ginger powder here.  Do not add both ginger paste and ginger powder.  Pick one.  I prefer the fresh ginger, but it's up to you and what you have on hand.

Whisk that all up together and then add it to the wet ingredients.  

Whether you're mixing it by hand or in a mixer, go slow.  It'll only take a very short amount of time before you stop seeing flour.  The second it's a single mass and not a wet mass plus a dry one, then you're done.  Overmixing is going to make the cookies tough rather than cakey.  And that's all it really takes to make the dough!

Grab either a measuring tablespoon or - my preference - a one tablespoon cookie scoop.  

Looove this thing!

Be sure to give yourself plenty of space between cookies.  These things spread out more than you'd expect.  The nice thing about the cookie scoop is that it helps you to pile the dough up high.  That'll help you get cookies that are puffy rather than pancakey.

Tip:  Using parchment paper will save you from trying to scrape these off the cookie sheet later.

Small, tall, with lots of space between.  Them's the rules.

In a 350(F) degree oven, pop the cookies in and set the timer for 6 minutes.  When it goes off, take an oven mitt and rotate the pan 180 degrees (as in, turn it around).  This helps the cookies bake evenly, since even the best of ovens have spots that are hotter or cooler.  Close the oven and bake for another 5-7 minutes.  In other words, you're baking for a total of 12 minutes, plus or minus a minute or two.

Halfway there!

My first batch come out in exactly 12 minutes, the second required 13, and the last batch took 15.  I also let my dough get too warm between batches, which is why the last few were melty-looking (as you'll see below).

Here's a confession:  I have never, ever had a recipe come out where I had exactly an even number of servings.  Somehow, beyond all chance, I wound up with precisely 3 trays of 15 cookies each.  Couldn't do it again if I tried.

Upper left, see how they're getting kind of flat and squished into one another?  
I shoulda put the dough in the fridge between batches.

Now, you can definitely put all three sheets in the oven at once.  I find I get impatient and like to have one pan in while I scoop out the next tray, but it's not necessary to do it that way.  It's just a personal quirk.  I'm telling you that so that you can understand that by the time I took the above photo with all 45 cookies, I'd had hot, fresh ones on hand for half an hour that I did not eat, just so you could see how much this recipe makes.  You're welcome.

They came out so cakey!  Perfection!

These are truly superb with a little spot of tea.

Next up:  Egg curry, followed by Japancakes.  Gonna be a fun week!

Pumpkin-Molasses Ginger Chews - The Concise Recipe
Makes 45 cookies.
Wet Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature (not melted)
  • 1 tablespoon cream cheese, also room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste (can substitute 1.5 teaspoons ginger powder in dry ingredients instead)
Dry Ingredients

  • 2.75 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and cream cheese until a fluffy paste forms.
  3. Cream butter/cream cheese and sugar together.
  4. Beat in molasses, vanilla, pumpkin, and ginger paste (if using).  Set wet ingredients aside.
  5. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.  If using ginger powder instead of ginger paste, add that to the flour mixture with the other spices.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing gently until the dry ingredients are just barely combined with the wet.  No flour should be showing.  Be cautious not to overmix.
  7. Place one tablespoon portions of batter onto a lined cookie sheet, spacing at least 2 inches apart.  
  8. Bake 10-14 minutes at 350, rotating the pan halfway.