No holiday cookie tray is complete in my house without a batch of Peg Bracken’s Elevator Lady Cookies from her classic “The I Hate to Cook Book”.
For one, their awesome name comes with an equally awesome backstory – these spicy ginger cookies really did come from an Elevator Lady (back in the days when elevators were still operated by real live people) who, according to the book, sampled one of Peg’s spice cookies and remarked “My, I can sure make a better spice cooky than that.”
And let me tell you, Elevator Lady wasn’t talking no smack. They are the be-all and end-all of spice cookies, as far as I’m concerned – soft and chewy on the inside, and beautifully crackled on the outside. And even better, they’re so easy to make that they practically bake themselves.
So when the time came to choose recipes for Cookie Week, I knew this one had to be on my list.
I’m not immune to this trend of taking old classics and giving them a little modern-day makeover, though, so I’ve replaced the traditional, comforting spices of the original Elevator Lady with a more cosmopolitan, globe-trotting blend of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and black pepper, and then threw in a generous dose of crystallized ginger for extra zip.
Think of it as remake where the role of the Elevator Lady is played by Padma Lakshmi, who goes on to use her delicious cookies to charm the various residents of her uptown New York building, including the grumpy dowager in the penthouse (played by Shirley MacLaine) and a dashing millionaire bachelor (played by Colin Firth, obviously) who eventually sweeps her off her feet.
As for Peg Bracken, some adorkable rom-com actress would do just fine… I’m thinking Amy Adams or Zoe Deschanel, perhaps.
Unfortunately, that movie is entirely hypothetical at the moment (though I’d totally watch it if it did exist)… but the deliciousness of these cookies is entirely real.
And since you hypothetically never know when you’ll run into a dashing millionaire bachelor with an appetite for delicious gingery cookies (especially one who looks a little like Colin Firth), I seriously recommend you really bake yourself a batch right now. Really.
This recipe borrows liberally from Peg Bracken’s Elevator Lady Cookies from her classic “The I Hate to Cook Book”, but changes up the spicing to make it over into a spicier, sassier version.
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
- 1/2 cup turbinado-style coarse sugar
- Preheat oven to 375F. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, canola oil, egg and molasses, and stir until smooth.
- In a second bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, cardamom and black pepper, Add to the wet ingredients, along with the crystallized ginger, and stir just until the dough comes together. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour, or until the dough is quite firm.
- Using your hands, roll the chilled dough into 1-inch balls, and roll in the coarse sugar to coat.
- Place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, and bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are firm and the tops are crackled all over. Let cool on the cookie sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
If you can manage to get your hands on some grains of paradise, try substituting them for the black pepper of this recipe – the flavour is similar to pepper, but with a floral tea-like note that’s makes these cookies even more delicious than they already are.
Check out the rest of today’s Cookie Week posts for more sweet goodies:
- Black Forest Sandwich Cookies by Cravings of a Lunatic
- Chewy Cocoa Fudge Cookies by Food Lust People Love
- Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies by i heart eating
- Macadamia and White Chocolate Chip Cookies by In The Kitchen With KP
- Maple Brown Butter Snickerdoodle Cups by Beyond Frosting
- Maple Cookies by Total Noms
- kitchen-sink-cookies by Texana’s Kitchen
- Nutella Cookies by NinjaBaking.com
- Nutmeg Logs by Love and Confections
- Oatmeal Raisin by Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker
- Peanut Butter Blossoms by Like Mother Like Daughter
- Pumpkin and Apple Dog Cookies by The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Raspberry Streusel Bars by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Soft Pumpkin Sugar Cookies with Cinnamon Frosting by Chocolate Moosey
- Spicy Ginger Chews by Crumb
- Vodka Cookies by Masala Herb