Last night was a perfect fall night. And a perfect night to have a group of 20 plus friends over for an after dinner backyard potluck under the big yellow tree (that is losing leaves way too fast for my liking).
A bonfire, lentil soup, chicken and dumplings, spinach salad with figs and goat cheese, homemade salsa, cookies, wine and great friends. It was certainly a perfect fall night.
I'll leave you with this recipe from my homegirl Ina Garten over at Barefoot Contessa for ginger cookies. They made my house smell like a Coloniel Williamsburg gift shop (you know, the mix of spices that is just oh-so-dreamy?) They were super easy to make and really a great recipe to get the kids involved in.
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups chopped crystallized ginger (6 ounces)
Granulated sugar, for rolling the cookies
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and salt and then combine the mixture with your hands. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the brown sugar, oil, and molasses on medium speed for 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to low speed, add the egg, and beat for 1 minute. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat for 1 more minute. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the crystallized ginger and mix until combined.
Scoop the dough with 2 spoons or a small ice cream scoop. With your hands, roll each cookie into a 1 3/4-inch ball and then flatten them lightly with your fingers. Press both sides of each cookie in granulated sugar and place them on the sheet pans. Bake for exactly 13 minutes. The cookies will be crackled on the top and soft inside. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.