From then on whenever I was a-going somewhere I was a-running-a

There is this great old story in our families’ mythology where my dad and his best friend were out at the Essen Haus in Madison and spied a couple who looked like they were less than thrilled to be there. Always quite gregarious, my dad’s friend approached the couple and asked them what was wrong. They replied that they had recently moved from Los Angeles and were having trouble adjusting. My dad’s friend exclaimed that they should get down on their knees and thank their lucky stars that they had gotten out of California and moved to Wisconsin. This is how I feel about having taken up running. Don’t get me wrong- there are days where I feel like I am running through mud, but tonight as I ran under a suspended pink sky over frozen Lake Wingra I felt like I could have kept running forever- much like Mr. Gump.

I think I went close to seven miles tonight and the only reason why I stopped when I did was because I knew that there were warm molasses cookies waiting for me at home. These are pretty much my favorite cookies in the world. My mom made them last year to share with friends but I’m pretty sure that we ended up hoarding them all.

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This recipe is from the November 2006 issue of Bon Appetit

Sugar-Topped Molasses Spice Cookies

2 1/3 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

A pinch of cracked ground black pepper

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup (packed) light brown sugar

1/2 cup molasses (not blackstrap)

1 large egg

About 1/2 cup sugar, for rolling

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cracked pepper. Working with a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, if you have one, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until it is smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and molasses and beat for 2 minutes or so to blend, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the egg and beat for 1 minute more. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry indgredients, mixing until the flour and spices disappear. If some of the flour remains in the bottom of the bowl, avoid overbeating the dough and mix in the last of the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula. You’ll have a smooth, very soft dough.

Divide the dough in half, wrap each piece in plastic wrap, and freeze for 30 minutes or chill for at least 1 hour. (You can refrigerate the dough for up to 4 days). Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the sugar in a small bowl. Working with one packet of dough at a time, break off 12 pieces and roll each piece into a smooth ball between your palms. One by one, roll the balls around in the bowl of sugar, then place them on the baking sheet. Dip the bottom of a glass into the sugar and use it to press down on the cookies until they are between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes*, or until the tops of the cookies feel set to the touch. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and, if the cookies have spread and are touching, use the edge of a metal spatula to separate them while they are hot. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to room temperature. Repeat with the second batch of dough.

*We only baked them for about 8 minutes

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Mmmmmm

It’s taco night tonight and I plan on eating about three more cookies, at least. Let the festivities begin.

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