The secret ingredient for these cookies is mulberry grape molasses, Dut Pekmezi, available at any Turkish market. It adds a fruitiness rather than the bite you typically find from the blackstrap molasses. This recipe evolved as a variation on the German-style pfeffernusse cookie. This recipe yields about 4 dozen cake-like, half-domed button-sized cookies. —Sagegreen
sweet cream unsalted butter, room temperature
dark muscovado, or brown, sugar
mulberry grape molasses (or you can use pomegranate molasses)
poppy seeds mixed with 1/8 cup chestnut or other honey
duck egg or extra large chicken egg, free range, slightly beaten
apf or white whole wheat flour (or your best gluten-free baking mix)
each of dried ginger and Saigon cinnamon
each of ground white pepper and nutmeg
Cream the butter with the cane and muscovado sugars. Stir in the molasses, poppy seed and honey combination. Blend in the beaten egg. If you want chopped dried nuts and fruits, add these now. Hazelnuts and cranberries work well.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and all the dry spices. Gradually combine the dry and wet ingredients. Do add in the flaxseed meal for a healthier touch.
Shape the dough into a large ball. Refrigerate covered for at least 2 hours and even overnight.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees before baking. Divide the dough into four units. From each unit roll a dozen balls, roughly half a tablespoon each. Place the rolled balls on a cookie sheet, allowing 2 inches of space around each and bake for 11-14 minutes until golden brown on the bottom. Cool thoroughly on a baking rack.
Spreading the cookies a few inches apart, sift powdered sugar through a sieve held about 4-6 inches above the cookies until dusted to your liking. For a variation you could use cocoa instead. These make a great holiday cookie.