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I rarely roll out cookies (mostly because I'm lazy), but when my friend Dawn from She Is Too Fond of Books told me that she spotted a hedgehog cookie cutter at IKEA, I told her I had to have one. I was thrilled that she was kind enough to buy the set of animal cutters for me and then gave them to me as a present. Why hedgehogs? Because hedgehogs are a classic mascot for bobbin-lace makers. If you look at the photo of a piece of my lace in progress, you'll get the idea.
As you know, I am a huge fan of King Arthur Flour—their flours, their equipment, and their recipes. I subscribe to their Baking Sheet, and I own most of their cookbooks. I turned to their Cookie Companion book for the recipe for these lovely Scandinavian-inspired ginger cookies when it came time to try out my new cookie cutters. These cookies are not too sweet and are nicely spiced. Just the way I like them.
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 oz) unsalted butter
- 1½ cups (10½ oz) sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons grated orange rind (zest)
- ¼ teaspoon orange oil (optional)
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon ground black pepper (for heat)
- 2 tablespoons (1½ oz) molasses
- 1 tablespoon (½ oz) water
- 3¼ cup (13¾ oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Beat until everything is well combined and the mixture has formed a stiff dough. Divide the dough into two pieces, shape each piece into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for several hours, or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes until it's soft enough to roll easily. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough into a circle ⅛ inch thick. Use a 2- to 3-inch cookie cutter to cut shapes, close together, getting as many cookies from the first roll-out as you can. Transfer cookies to the baking sheets, leaving 1 inch between them. Gather the scraps together, reroll, and cut again, until you've used up all the dough. Repeat with the other disk.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until they're just beginning to turn golden brown around the edges. Remove them from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Beth F's notes: I used the full amount of pepper, the orange oil, and the allspice instead of the cloves. Hedgehog photo courtesy of National Geographic and freely available for downloading.
The first three cookies I tried were a squirrel, a heart, and (of course) a hedgehog.