Soft Gingerbread Drop Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
Soft. Gingerbread. Drop Cookies. Need I say more?
Most of us think of gingerbread as cut out shapes or decorated houses. The idea of mixing, chilling, rolling, cutting, baking, and finally decorating gingerbread cookies may seem overwhelming. How can you make gingerbread less of an event but still have that great nostalgic spiced molasses cookie taste? Soft gingerbread drop cookies with cream cheese icing, of course.
This gem of a recipe was tucked away in “The New York Times Cookbook,” by Craig Claiborne. I know, 2 recipes in a row from the NYT cookbook, I’m out of control. These old-fashioned holiday recipes are hard to resist and unlike my grandmother’s books, Craig Claiborne has many. Although he was fond of my grandmother’s work, I have to believe that she may have learned more from him about holiday baking than he did from her. Since Christmas (or any holiday really) was not celebrated in the Peck household, her festive recipes are few and far between (as I mentioned in the Edible Manhattan article I wrote last December on her Linzer Torte).
I made quite a few modifications to this recipe, originally titled Soft Molasses Drop Cookies. I substituted butter for shortening, added seasoning and spice to make them more of a ginger cookie, and used a cream cheese icing instead of the suggested chocolate frosting in the book. I’m just not a fan of gingerbread with chocolate but creamy tangy cream cheese adds a nice acidity and contrast to the spicy rich molasses flavor.
Those fancy gingerbread houses, men, stars, and candy cane shapes are fun but I can probably make and eat a whole batch of these drop cookies in the time it takes you get your gingerbread house components into the oven. Plus these are SOFT (not like the brick version that breaks your teeth) and each bite comes with the perfect amount of flavorful cream cheese icing – tough to beat in the chaos of holiday baking.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Beat the butter, vegetable oil, and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the molasses, egg, and 3 tablespoons of the flour.
Sift together remaining flour and the other dry ingredients. Mix together the vinegar, water, and buttermilk. Add alternating to the molasses mixture and beat batter until it is very smooth.
Drop teaspoons of the mixtru onto the cookie sheets. Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Cool. Top each cookie with a round of cream cheese frosting.
Mix the butter with cream cheese until well combined. Add vanilla. Slowly beat in sugar.
Yield: 3 dozen