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Thursday 8 December 2011

Sluttishly Sweet: Joe Froggers

I've been reading about Joe Froggers on various American websites and in cookbooks for a while now. They originate in Marblehead, Massachusetts and were favourites with local fishermen who found they kept well during sea voyages,  This is a slightly darker clove-filled variation which makes for a rather grown up biscuit - when writing it up I realised that I used half the sugar I was supposed to (which is the amount listed below). They turned out more like spicy ginger nut biscuits than the traditional recipe but strangely moreish all the same. Use 200g of sugar instead for a softer, chewier biscuit.

Makes roughly 3 doz with cutters about 8cm in diameter.

You will need:
  • 440g of plain flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 115g vegetable shortening such as Trex
  • 100g sugar
  • 60ml rum
  • 60ml of water
  • 2 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 420g treacle
Make it!
  1. Sieve the flour and spices into a bowl, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the shortening and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the rum, water and salt and heat very gently while stirring, just until the salt is dissolved.  Then stir the baking soda into the molasses.
  4. Gradually add the wet and dry ingredients to the shortening and sugar, alternating small amounts of each.  It makes quite a stiff dough so don't overtax your mixer (or elbow if you're hand-mixing)
  5. Refrigerate the resulting dough overnight, wrapped in cling film.
  6. To prepare for baking, preheat the oven to 190c. Roll out the dough to about 5mm thick, between two pieces of cling film. Cut out using shaped cutters (I like hearts for Christmas) or a glass, and bake similarly sized cookies together for 10-12 minutes until they lighten and the tops just start to crack. You can happily re-roll the dough a couple of times to use up all the scraps. 
  7. Don't let them over bake or they turn into hockey pucks. When you remove them from the heat, use a spatula to immediately transfer them to a cooling rack as otherwise they'll continue to bake on the tray.
If you'd like to use them as tree decorations, piece a hole in the top using a drinking straw before baking. I decorated these with some thick Royal Icing and a No 3 icing nozzle,  just to brighten them up a little but they are just fine unadorned too.


  1. These sound lovely! And I've been looking for a Christmas biscuit recipe :-)

  2. You are brilliant at decorating! They look professional.


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