Fall has arrived in Vancouver! We had a great start to it with almost two full weeks of SUN! If you've ever lived in Vancouver, you know this is a big deal. If you haven't, well, we get our fair share of rain. More than our fair share, actually. We get two months of sunshine in the summer, if we're lucky, and the rest is rain. So sunshine in fall is a big deal.
The boots have been brought out. The cozy sweaters have been brought out. The scarves have been brought out. The knee high socks have been brought out. All of them.
That's right. You heard me. Knee high socks. Love 'em. It started out with one pair that I would secretly wear under my jeans on really cold days. Then, ever so slowly, they started to make public appearances. They would peek out from under my gumboots sometimes. Or maybe I'd wear boots and tights with my knee highs.Then I got bold. I started wearing them... with dresses! There's not many occasions where you can wear a dress and knee high socks and look appropriate, but I think I pulled it off.
I've acquired different pairs of knee high socks over the years. Cream, maroon, grey plaid, black, even a pair of white and purple ones. I don't collect many things, except snow globes and knee high socks. I can't help myself. The feeling of having your legs wrapped up in cozy warmth! It's the little joys of life.
Back to fall! It is, by far, my favorite season. I know everyone says that because they go out with their cute leather boots and buy a pumpkin spice latte and wear scarves. I'm not a huge pumpkin person and I tend to wear my gumboots all fall because, as I said, it's Vancouver. I do love my scarves, though. But I am a die-hard fall fan. I adore sitting on my couch, wrapped up in my blanket, sipping tea while it's raining outside. Heck, even going outside isn't that bad because eventually you get to come inside and warm up! Also, my birthday is in fall.
Don't even get me started on Christmas. I am obsessed with Christmas. These treats made me even more excited for the day after my birthday, November 15th, because that's when I tell myself it's okay to openly start celebrating Christmas. I say "openly" because I've already started listening to my Christmas playlist. But my Christmas fever will come later, you'll see!
Apple things just scream fall to me. It's the smell and the spices that go with it, I think. The images I get when I smell an apple pie are all about fall. Ginger Molasses cookies are more of a Christmas time cookie, but I think they work just as good in fall because the spices are similar to the apple cider. They were made for each other! Just like scarves and boots.
The best thing about these is that when you're done baking them, your place will smell of cinnamon, cloves, apples, and ginger. What could be better?
I used grated fresh ginger in my cookies, but feel free to use powdered ginger if you don't have any fresh ginger on hand. I've got a big root just sitting in my fridge because the nice lady at the spice shop gave it to me for free.
The very important thing about the apple cider is that you can't use regular apple juice. It's just not the same. Proper apple cider will be cloudy and have stuff sitting at the bottom. This is because it isn't as filtered as apple juice. It has a very different flavour that lends itself perfectly to spices.
Give yourself an afternoon off sometime this week and just make these! You'll be thankful afterwards because you'll be fully launched into fall and ready to take on those dreary, rainy days.
Spiced Apple Cider
4 cups unfiltered apple cider
3 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon whole cloves
Put the spices in a saucepan with the apple cider. Over medium heat, bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and set aside for 20 minutes. Strain the spices out and enjoy!
This makes a small batch, so double it, triple it, quadruple it if you want more!
Ginger Molasses Cookies
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger (I used 1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger)
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoon vegetable, canola, or safflower oil
1/3 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Sugar to coat
In a large bowl, sift the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves. If using ground ginger, sift it as well. If using fresh ginger, keep it aside for now.
In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the oil, molasses, egg, vanilla extract, and fresh ginger, if using. Beat until incorporated. Gradually beat in the flour mixture.
Cover and chill the dough for 2 hours, until firm. Overnight is alright, too.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Put some sugar in a bowl. Using a tablespoon, roll into 1 inch balls. If you're a fan of the giant ginger molasses cookie, make them bigger! Coat generously with sugar and put them on a baking sheet with about 2 inches in between each one. They spread out a lot during baking.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until they are cracked on top. Take them out and cool on a wire rack.