As a kid, my brother had an obsession with one particular cake: Iced Spiced Ginger Bars. It was moist and soft and spicy and it was topped with a fabulously creamy white icing. It was made famous by my aunt, but I’m not completely sure at which particular gathering it was made popular at. I do remember at least one of my brother’s birthdays in which he requested it though.
Last week I had my first final of my last semester at university (yay!). I usually take the opportunity in the days following to do some baking as my method of stress relief. I had recently become tired of the cookie recipes that were in constant rotation in my repertoire and was eager to try something new. My house being the house of 10,000 cookbooks, there were bound to be one or two devoted only to cookies and the like ;) So the search was on and my mom came up with half a dozen for me to try, the following recipe being one of them.
I realize that these stories may seem unrelated, but they are not. The title of the recipe (Tijuana Fiesta Cookies) lends some intrigue, as one is not entirely sure what to expect. For me, the cookies turned out moist, soft and packed with flavor, their smell reminding me of the cake that my brother used to inhale. The icing hardens on the cookie, breaking when you bite it, lending some sweetness to the spice of the cookie.
So, here is to the spirit of finding something new, as well as to reminding you of something from the past!
TIJUANA FIESTA COOKIES
(from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Cookies)
2 1/4 flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp instant coffee
1/3 cup boiling water
1/2 cup butter, at room temp.
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare your cookie sheets – parchment paper or grease ’em up.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Dissolve instant coffee in boiling water and set aside.
Cream butter in bowl of an electric mixer. Beat in sugar and egg. Gradually beat in the molasses, scraping the bowl as you need to (I would HIGHLY recommend this! Especially with molasses…that s*** just makes a mess).
Gradually add half of the dry ingredients and beat until just mixed. Mix in the coffee and add the other half of the dry ingredients. Mix until just barely combined.
Place teaspoonfuls of the dough on prepared cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart. Throw the sheets in the oven for about 12 or 14 minutes.
The cookies spread nicely, so keep this in mind when baking. They’re done when the tops spring back when you touch them lightly with a finger.
Place the cookies on a rack to cool.
about 2 cups icing sugar (taste to your satisfaction)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
5 (ish) tbsp milk
Toss all ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth. It shouldn’t be too thick or thin (you don’t want the icing to run off the cookies!). Use your best judgment to get the right consistency and taste.
Spread on the cookies and enjoy to your heart’s content!
Thanks for reading! Happy eats!