Baked Sunday Mornings: Joe Froggers

This week's Baked Sunday Mornings assignment is Joe Froggers, aka Ginger Rum Molasses Cookies.  I had never bothered trying the recipe before now because I already have several great gingersnap recipes. The Joe Frogger recipe is slightly more complicated than other gingersnap recipes I've made because it requires an extended chilling time (3 hours, or overnight) and they are roll and cut cookies, not drop cookies. But still, it's one of the easier recipes from Baked Explorations!

To make the dough, you beat butter and shortening, add sugar and dark brown sugar, mix in molasses, and then alternately add the dry ingredients (flour, salt, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda) and very hot water. Finally, you add in rum and then the chill the dough. The recipe calls for a lot of molasses and liquid in general (it has four cups of flour, but one and a quarter cups of molasses, one-third cup hot water, and three tablespoons dark rum). The resulting batter was the pourable consistency of cake batter, which I thought was odd. I figured it would firm up in the fridge and I chilled it for 24 hours.

The next day I tried to roll out the dough as directed, and it was simply impossible. The dough was too soft. I contemplated shaping it into a log and freezing it to make slice and bake cookies, but even shaping it into a log was going to be difficult. So I just got out a cookie scoop (I used a #50, a bit over a tablespoon), and I scooped the dough onto cookie sheets and sprinkled them with sanding sugar. Since the dough was so soft, I figured that it would flatten out during baking, which turned out to be right.

My cookies actually looked almost exactly like the ones pictured in the cookbook even though I didn't roll and cut them; they were flat, even, and nicely round. The recipe says it yields between 36-48 cookies, depending on the size of the cookie cutter, but I got 58 with my small scoop.

I thought these cookies were good, but I like some of my other gingersnap recipes better (like this one from Milk or this one from White Lily). I like my gingersnaps to be super chewy, and these were soft (but not pliable) and not particularly chewy. Also, to me the rum flavor was overwhelming, but I am particularly sensitive to rum, given that I never drink alcohol and I happen to think the taste of rum is absolutely awful (I will eat any flavor of ice cream but rum raisin!). These cookies are also quite molasses-y. That said, they were quite popular with tasters, and I would make them again.

Recipe: "Joe Froggers" from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Recipe available here at Baked Sunday Mornings.

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Bourbonnatrix said…
sorry you didn't like them... they did turn out beautiful though.
Anonymous said…
I think that, considering you used a scoop, these came out beautifully! Nice and round like the rolled ones... good job! They're not my favorite molasses cookie either, so you're not alone!
erinstar41 said…
I used a scoop as well and was very please at how round and uniform they came out. Glad you had success with that as well...there was no way I could have rolled my dough out. Pretty!
I can't believe these are scooped out and not rolled out....they are perfect looking! Bravo!
Anonymous said…
They look great! I'm a fan of rum, but not of molasses, so I didn't eat my "ninjas." ;)
Athena said…
Your cookies look perfect! I can't tolerate rum (or any alcohol for that matter) so it was a good thing I didn't add it to my dough.
Louise said…
I've always made King Arthur's Joe Froggers, so after reading your story, I had to compare the ingredients. Basically BAKED uses twice as much flour, molasses, and sugar and four times as much baking soda. The fat, spices, and rum are the same. KA does not use any hot water. KA's are chilled, then scooped, and baked. Excellent Joe Froggers.