1¼ cups butter (2½) sticks
1⅓ cups brown sugar
1 medium egg
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups flour plus some to dust cookie mold
speculaas mold, other cookie mold, or cookie cutters
1-to-2 cookie sheets
1-to-4 glasses of mulled red wine
wine bottle for bopping oafs
Makes 18 cookies. Takes 15 minutes to make dough, to sit overnight in refrigerator, and maybe 1 hour to make the cookies, plus 15-to-20 minutes each time you put cookie sheets in the oven. You will get better and faster at putting the dough in the speculaas mold, trimming the dough with the sewing thread, and getting the dough out of the mold and onto the cookie sheet in one piece. While getting the hang of things, I say chill out and have some wine to calm yourself down. Note, the upper limit of drinks is for those who use speculaas or other embossed cookie molds. If you just plop down some dough, you only get one glass. There you go.
Add butter and sugar to first, large mixing bowl. Mix using electric beater set on CREAM until butter/sugar mix becomes creamy. Add egg. Mix with electric beater set on CAKE until well blended. Add baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg to second, small mixing bowl. Mix together with whisk. Add spice mix from second, small mixing bowl and flour to first, large mixing bowl. Knead mixture until it forms a firm dough ball. Refrigerate dough ball overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dust speculaas mold for each cookie. Press dough into mold. Gently trim all dough above the line of mold with sewing thread. The top of the dough should be flush with the top of the mold.
Turn mold over and rap it against the cookie sheet. The dough should come out easily and intact if the mold was sufficiently dusted with flour. If not, gently, slowly pull dough out of the mold. If it the shaped dough comes apart in only one or two spots, gently smoosh the pieces together with your fingertip. If someone happens to see this and makes a snarky remark, hit the oaf on its head with the wine bottle. Bake cookies at 350 degrees for 15-to-25 minutes or until cookies turn golden brown.
1) The first weekend of September is the Redhead Festival in Breda, Netherlands. It started as a local photographer’s quest to find a redhead model. It soon got out of hand. Well, sort of. Redheads walk around seeing other redheads. They even celebrate the color red.
2) It could have so exciting. Why not really celebrate the color red by having tomato fights?
3) Or have ketchup wrestling. That would draw a big crowd.
4) Or have professional drivers race around Breda in red fire trucks instead of race cars.
5) Or let tourists do high diving into a pool of tomato soup.
6) Or hold a contest to build the highest pyramid out of red bell peppers.
7) Or have a contest to eat the most habañero peppers.
8) Or even celebrate ginger. Redheads are often called gingers.
9) Who wouldn’t want to enter a contest to see who could eat the most buttered ginger toast?
10) Go bowling with tomatoes. Professional tomato bowlers recommend a perfectly round. The flattish, not entirely round ones do not go as straight as the perfectly round ones. You’ll never knock down any pins with your tomato if it heads straight for the gutter. Oh, it must be said that the typical tomato has no finger holes as opposed to the standard three-hole bowling ball. This makes tomato bowling even more challenging.
11) Play golf with ginger root! Be careful not to hit your ginger in the woods. It blends in with the leaves. You’ll never find it.
12) Even better, play basketball with tomatoes! Given that tomatoes would make a big splat the first time the ball handler batted the tomato to the ground, fears of players getting away with uncalled double dribbles would be thing of the past.
12) Play football with tomatoes! Since tomatoes are so fragile, soft hands for the quarterback and receivers would be a must.
13) Stage your own bullfights. All you need is a red tablecloth and fast feet.
14) What about ten tons of tomatoes and a bulldozer? Revelers get five minutes on the machine, or fewer if they miss the tomatoes and run into a building.
– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef
My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.