Did you know that there is a fifth season in the year? It’s called Baking Season and it’s happening right NOW! It has a soft start at the beginning of October and runs full tilt until January 1st, at which point it has a severe drop off and receives a huge amount of backlash from people everywhere, bemoaning the existence of Baking Season as they struggle to fit into their pants.
But come October 1st all of the haters forget how disgusting they felt after three months of sugar binging and the season ramps back up again at the first whiff of a pumpkin scone. Typically Baking season looks like this; the beginning of October allows you to ease into it with pumpkin pies and such for Thanksgiving. Once people feel comfortable stretching their baking muscles in the kitchen then you have an opportunity to get creative with Halloween baking. But let’s be honest here, the real meat and potatoes of Baking Season begins November 1st, when people around the world begin to stock pile their freezers full of Christmas baking.
And I am no exception here. Christmas baking, and all of the amazing flavours it entails, is my happy place. I have so many go-to family recipes that are must haves every year, but it’s always fun to play around with Christmas baking to see if I can come up with something a bit different.
So this is my take on the classic gingerbread cookie, with one catch; there is no ginger in it! It’s an evil Christmas trick! Call me Scrooge…Scrooge McDuck. But in lieu of ginger I have added apples, salted caramel and honey tuile. It tastes very similar to a ginger cookie. A fair trade I think.
Now this recipe can be broken into two categories. 1. I’m feeling like Martha fucking Stewart, or 2. I’m feeling like a diabetic sloth. If you feel like Martha then follow the recipe through to the end. If you are feeling like a sloth then take the easy way out and only bake the cookies, without the salted caramel butter and honey tuile. Either way it’s going to be a party in your mouth so it’s a win-win for overachievers and slackers alike!
Molasses Apple Cookies (make 24 cookies)
1 Granny smith apple, peeled and finely chopped
¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cornstarch
- Combine all ingredients except the cornstarch in a saucepan and simmer over med-low heat for about 10 minutes or until the apples are soft
- Add cornstarch and stir until thick
- Remove from heat and allow to cool fully before using
Molasses cookie dough
¾ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
1 cup cake flour
1 cup AP flour
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cloves and cardamom
1tbsp brown sugar and granulated sugar mixed together for coating the cookies.
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat
- Combine the dry ingredients and set aside
- Cream the sugars and butter together until light and fluffy
- Add the egg yolks, molasses and vanilla and cream until smooth
- Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. The dough will be on the drier side.
- Roll the dough into small balls and coat each one in the sugar mixture before placing on the baking sheet.
- Press down in the middle of each cookie to create a well and fill each well with the apple filling
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the bottoms begin to brown
**Stop here if you want the easy version, but if you are feeling risky and dare to move ahead then proceed to the more advanced version of the recipe!**
Salted Caramel Butter
¼ cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup butter
¾ cup heavy cream
1 tsp salt
½ cup butter set aside to use when the caramel has cooled
- Combine the sugar, salt and water in a saucepan and place on medium-high heat and cook until it begins to bubble and turns dark amber colour, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from the heat and carefully add the cream and butter. The caramel will bubble so be careful and do this slowly.
- Once the butter has melted place back on the burner just to combine everything fully. No more than a minute.
- Remove from the heat and let the caramel cool fully in the fridge.
- Once the salted caramel is cool, pour a ½ cup into a bowl and beat in the remaining ½ cup butter, whipping until light and fluffy.
- Place in the fridge until ready to use.
- You can freeze the remaining salted caramel that you didn’t use for future baking.
Honey Tuile (for garnish)
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp + 2 tsp granulated sugar
4 tbsp unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp + 2 tsp AP flour
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
- Combine all ingredients except for the flour in a saucepan and place over medium-high heat.
- Stir over the heat until all the sugar has dissolved then bring to a rolling boil.
- Remove from the heat and add the flour, stirring until fully combined with no lumps.
- Pour onto the baking sheet, spreading it out evenly to about ¼ inch thickness. It won’t take up the entire baking sheet and it can be an irregular shape as you will be breaking it up once it is out of the oven.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. It will puff up and bubble in the oven and then it will settle down. The bubbles give it that Swiss cheese look once it is out of the oven.
- Remove from oven once the tuile is a golden brown, allow to cool fully.
- Once cool break the tuile up into shattered pieces.
- Pipe a small amount of the salted caramel butter into each cookie.
- Garnish with the tuile.
- Stuff yo face!
Photos by Kayla Browne