November 5, 2011

Raleigh Tavern Gingerbread Cookies

I first tried these cookies while visiting Colonial Williamsburg last year. A fellow traveler heard our family was headed there and said, "You've got to go to the Raleigh Tavern Bakery-they're famous for their gingerbread cookies!" I'm glad I took his advice. After a long walk down Duke of Gloucester street, pushing a stroller and coaxing my 4-year-old to go one more block, we found it nestled behind the tavern. My sweet daughter forgot all about her tired legs as I handed her a thick, round gingerbread cake. They were so good I took hubby and the rest of the crew down the next day for their 'bakers dozen'. Now, anytime I make these, my kids yell, "I love those cookies-I remember them!" It's fun having recipes that bring about such great memories!

1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup margarine or butter, melted
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup molasses
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon lemon extract
4 cups stone-ground or unbleached flour, unsifted

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Mix well. Add the melted butter, evaporated milk and molasses. Add the extracts and mix well. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly. The dough should be stiff enough to handle without sticking to fingers. Knead the dough for a smoother texture. You can add up to 1/2 cup flour if necessary to prevent sticking. When the dough is smooth, roll it out to desired thickness (I love the way they make them at the bakery, quite thick), and cut with a round cookie cutter. Bake on greased cookie sheets in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. The cookies will spring back when lightly touched.

* if you roll them to about 1/4" thickness, they're perfect for ice cream sandwiches-great with pumpkin ice cream!

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