'Sweetish' Pepper Cookies

Swedish pepper cookies are a long-standing holiday tradition in the Blake family and since joining the family 9 years ago I've made them less of a tradition and more of  a staple, at least in our little family. I've also changed the name and the recipe, just a tad, and I think it's time to share it. One of the reasons I've been hesitant to share is that the original recipe calls for a cookie press. DeAnn and I have been through our share of difficulties with these presses, and I've already been through two of my own. I decided not to pack a third press in our suitcases, and I'm glad I didn't. If you don't have a press don't worry about it. Now you can make Tom's favorite 'Sweetish' pepper cookies, sometimes known as pfeffernusse or peppernoten. They're softer than the traditional cookie, which is how we like them.
The signature ingredient to the cookies is molasses. When I saw the Brer Rabbit Blackstrap Molasses at the local market I immediately grabbed a bottle. Maybe I should have bought two. But I only use one tablespoon at a time so it should last me a few months. Even if I make them for Cassidy's class every other week.
The original recipe says that if the dough is too dry you can add water. The first few times I made this recipe I had to add water, and the cookies were still a bit too crunchy for my taste. Throughout the years I've adjusted the recipe and reduced the flour by a fourth of a cup, which makes to dough soft but not sticky.
If you have a cookie press you can use it -- that is if the dough doesn't explode through the sides. I've found it a lot easier to just roll them into nice little balls and call it good. I don't get as many cookies out of the recipe when I roll them by hand, but it's worth it to reduce my frustration.

If you like crunchy cookies, just bake them longer. But if you're like us then bake them for the called for amount of time (depending on your oven) and enjoy them warm with some iced coffee (or tea if you're any other Blake family). If you can't eat them all at once then store them in an airtight container. And a nice tip I learned from my sister-in-law, add a piece of bread to the container and it will keep the cookies soft, while making the bread hard as a rock.

I made these to celebrate the closing of Tom's semester (though he's still writing and studying for exams). We're enjoying them a little at a time, thanks to the sacrificial piece of bread. And the Blake family.

'Sweetish' Pepper Cookies
2 sticks of butter, room temperature (227 grams)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 Tablespoon molasses, unsulphured
1 egg

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons cloves

Preheat oven to 350' (180').

Cream butter, sugar, molasses and egg in a large bowl. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, 1/2 cup at a time.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake 7-8 minutes for a crunchy edge and soft middle. Bake longer for a completely crunchy cookie.

Remove the cookies to a cooling rack for a few minutes. These are great warm out of the oven, or the next day, but they will dry up quickly if you don't store with some bread.


Father's Day

She drew a picture of them on the longest slide ever and
watching a movie together in a tent.

Cassidy wanted to treat her papa right for Father's Day so she made him a feast! She showed off her cooking, serving, artistic and musical skills all in one setting. She even dressed up (her favorite part). She truly loves the man she calls "Abba" and wants to bless him every day.
We take food seriously in this family, real and pretend.
Tom is the best papa for us. Every morning when I take Cass to school, we head down to the street and then Tom whistles at her from our balcony. Then he signs to her that he loves her, he blows her kisses and does all sorts of silly things to make her smile.

When I pick her up from school she always wants to know if Papa is home or at class. If he's home she runs to his study and gives him kisses. They are two peas in a pod; sometimes she'll go into his study while he's working and do her own project (construction paper ice cream cones are her current interest). She doesn't need to talk to him (usually), she just wants to be with him.
Then he blessed her spirit, she locked eyes with him
and received his words of love and truth.

I can understand. I want to spend all my time with him, too. Having his study at home is a blessing for all of us; we get to see each other more than most families. He has more flexibility to stop and eat lunch with me, or play with Cassidy when she gets home from school. I admit, we may take advantage of his "flexibility". He is so sweet that he has a hard time saying 'no', so we're trying to work on respecting his need to get school work done. We just want to be with him, to share what we're learning or doing or find out what he's thinking.

This time as a family is a blessing -- we really love each other! We appreciate all of your prayers for our family, and our marriage. We feel the generous hand of G-d on our relationships as we spend more time together. We pray you all had a great time celebrating the men in your lives, and remember the One who wants you to call Him Abba.


Meet 'Faith', a cute street cat with no eyes. Believe it or not, she's one of the less-skiddish cats around. Most of them stare at you till you get close and then dash off like you're after their kibble. But let's be honest, they don't have any kibble, unless it's Shabbat. And then nice old ladies leave some out on the sidewalk. All creatures great and small, right?

If we weren't so allergic and she wasn't so sketchy we might just adopt her.


Doing some moves

We finally found a soccer ball that meets Tom's standards (sort of) and he and Cassidy have started kicking it around the patio. She's kicking the ball really well and doing some moves, just like Wyatt used to do. It doesn't hurt to play the beautiful game in a cute pink tutu and tights.