Food Columnist Judi Leaming offers a taste of fall in the form of Ginger Cookies, Ginger Bars and Buttermilk Sugar Cookies.


You may recall that in the spring I tested and recommended a number of easy cookie recipes. I was prompted to make those so that I’d have treats to take them to our grandson Matt’s tennis matches and they’d disappear very quickly. During this fall sports season, Matt is running on the Queen Anne High School cross-country team and his brother Josh has moved up to the high school where he plays junior varsity soccer.

Therefore, I assumed that I would need to bake cookies to carry along when I went to their sporting events. Recently I proudly walked up to Matt and his teammates after he finished his first cross country meet with a container of Ginger Bars and they looked at me as if I was crazy. How was I to know that you’re not hungry after you finish a cross country course? Live and learn, but don’t offer cookies.
However, during a weekend visit, both Matt and Josh happily ate and gave their approval to the Buttermilk Sugar Cookies that I had made for them.

You’ll notice that at this time of the year I’ve been tempted by recipes that contain ingredients that remind me of fall — cinnamon, pumpkin pie spices and ginger. The Ginger Bars recipe also calls for whole wheat flour and this is a key ingredient here. Because I don’t often use whole wheat flour, I keep it in the freezer in a freezer-weight zip-lock bag and I’d suggest that you might want to do that, too.

Containers of both of these cookies were “on board” when we headed out for an autumnal visit to New England. We had barbecue judging assignments in Norwalk, Conn., and then we went to Camden, Maine, to meet up with our RVing group for a fall rally. In Norwalk, we discovered the SONO Bakery that is owned and operated by PBS’s John Barricelli. Even though we had just eaten lunch, the goodies in the display cases were irresistible and so I just had to make some purchases. On the counter was the recipe for the Ginger Cookies. You can find out more about John Barricelli and his TV cooking sh
ow by going to http://www.pbs.org/everydayfood/cast/john.html and you can order his book via Amazon.

Buttermilk Sugar Cookies
(Recipe from cooks.com)

1 cup butter
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie or apple pie spice or cinnamon or nutmeg
Granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets. Blend and mix all ingredients well. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.  Bake for 12 to 14 minutes until edges are just light brown. Remove to wire rack to cool. Store airtight. Makes about 90 cookies.

Ginger Bars
(Recipe from allrecipes.com)
1 3/4 cups brown sugar
2/3 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup molasses
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan. Combine the brown sugar, butter and molasses in a large bowl and mash together with a spoon until the mixture is creamy and thoroughly combined. Mix in the ginger, eggs and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl combine flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir 1/4 of the flour mixture into the butter/egg mixture, incorporating completely before stirring in another 1/4 of the flour. When all the flour is mixed in, spread the batter evenly in the prepared baking pan. Bake for 27 to 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack then cut into bars. Store airtight.

Ginger Cookies
(Recipe distributed by the Sono Baking Company, Norwalk, Conn.)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
3/4 cup granulated sugar

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger; set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the 1 cup sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through. Beat in the egg and molasses until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, beating until combined.

Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Set the oven rack in the middle position.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick silicone baking mats; set aside. Place the remaining sugar for rolling on a plate and set aside. Using a 1 1/2-inch cookie scoop, scoop out the dough and roll into balls between your hands. Roll the balls in the sugar to coat and place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake one sheet at a time, rotating the sheet two-thirds of the way through the baking time, until the cookies are deep golden brown and the centers are firm, about 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the sheet to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to the wire rack and cool completely. Continue to roll and bake the remaining cookies in the same way. Makes about 60 cookies.