– Submitted by Rachelle Thornburgh (From the New Ark Cookbook/Chef Nanci Main)
During my early twenties I dreamed of becoming a chef. I was introduced to Nanci Main and the late Jimella Lucas of the destination restaurant, “The Ark”, once located in Nahcotta, WA. This introduction began my three year chef apprenticeship.
When I entered through the back door of the restaurant each morning, the bakery would be humming with activity. I’d poke my head in to say, “Hello” to Nanci and her bakers and breathe in the aromas of bread, cookies, and cakes awaiting their turn in the display case.
Nanci and Jimella stressed the importance of using locally sourced, fresh ingredients in all their recipes. The butter and flour Nanci used to make these cookies was sourced locally in southwest WA and Nanci would encourage anyone to use locally sourced ingredients, if available, in all they bake.
“Molasses Ginger Cookies” is a recipe created by Nanci Main especially for her Mom and featured in “The New Ark Cookbook”. They are a perfect holiday cookie-moist, chewy, and comforting. The added fresh ginger gives them a spicy and lingering zing.
1 ½ c butter
2 c sugar
½ c dark molasses
2 T fresh ginger root, peeled and finely minced in food processor
4 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 T ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger 2 tsp ground cloves 1 tsp salt
Over low heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter, sugar and molasses. Bring heat up to medium. Using a whisk, stir until ingredients form a thick, caramel-colored syrup. Cool to lukewarm in a stand mixer bowl.
Once cooled enough, add eggs, one at a time, incorporating completely. Add the fresh ginger root.
In a separate mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. In batches, add flour mixture to liquid ingredients until batter is fully mixed. Chill dough covered for an hour or more.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line sheet pans with parchment. Roll dough balls into 16 gram balls*. Roll each ball in sugar. Place evenly, 12 to a pan. Take palm and slightly flatten cookies.
Bake 10 minutes, turn once in between. Cool on wire rack. Yield: 6 dozen**
These freeze well so can be made in advance.
*Nanci’s recipe rolls dough into balls the size of walnuts. For the purpose of “Operation Cookie Drop 2021”, I adjusted to about half that size.
**The original recipe yields about 3 dozen with the walnut sized dough balls.