Ahhh…summer. Daylight seems to go on forever and on those rare, sunny days in Southeast Alaska time seems to stand still. As I write this column, we are experiencing such a phenomena. Even I, who can almost always be found in a sweater, with my feet covered in wooly socks, am sporting a sun dress and open-toed shoes. It’s truly a perfect day.
I have to confess, I was wondering if we’d even get to enjoy any additional such perfect days after the deluge of rain we have experienced this spring. Thankfully, the heavens have smiled upon us and we are once again basking in the glow of the midnight sun.
This weather tends to make Southeast Alaskans more eager than ever to get outside. I joke with my tour guests that the way to spot a local on a sunny days is that we’re standing outside with our faces pointed toward the sky, taking deep breaths, and chanting “sun day” as our mantra. Yes, these days are precious to us and even more so for folks like me, who relish cooking outside.
I’m speaking of the ever popular backyard barbecue. This age-old ritual dates back to prehistoric times when man finally figured out the fire thing and had his buddies over to drink mugs of glug and gnaw on grilled leg of t-rex. This is a bonding experience for friends, families, and neighbors. Of course, in Juneau we don’t let a little rain keep us from firing up the grill, but it is so much more enjoyable on a warm, sunny day.
Recently my dear friend Lorene came back to Juneau for a brief visit. In her honor we gathered around the fire pit and had a delicious meal. To end the meal, we opted for the customary s’mores dessert. This has become a tradition among our group since we made the gourmet s’more for Elizabeth’s birthday BBQ a couple of years ago. This year, however, the gooey dessert was taken to a whole new level by my outdorksy sister, Valerie. We used gourmet chocolates and Taku Glacier Lodge’s gingersnap cookies. Yes, you read that correctly, no simple milk chocolate bar and graham crackers for us. Nope. We went all kinds of Iron Chef with our s’mores. The choices of chocolate bars ranged from dark chocolate sea salt caramel, to milk chocolate chili pepper. All paired with the delicious Taku Glacier Lodge gingersnap cookies.
After putting together the s’mores and getting the gooey chocolate marshmallow concoction all over us, we reflected that they reminded us of the southern treat called Moon Pies. We then started sharing ideas of how this new treat could become Alaska’s moon pie and perhaps become the iconic campfire treat of the Last Frontier. It’s all about those cookies.
This week I present a recipe that is a combination of creativity and a well-known and beloved cookie. If you haven’t gone to Taku Glacier Lodge, I highly recommend it. It’s a feast for the eyes and the belly. While you’re out there, pick up the Taku Glacier Lodge’s cookbook. Not only is the gingersnap cookie recipe in it, but the biscuits are, too. Oh, my…the biscuits! If you’re unable to make the journey this week, here’s the recipe for those outstanding cookies.
Until next time…
Eat and enjoy,
Alaskan Moon Pies
12 Taku spicy ginger cookies
Chocolate bars (whatever you like)
Milk and/or chocolate, melted
Taku Spicy Ginger Cookies
1 cup butter
1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup raw sugar
Space oven racks evenly. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter and sugars together until fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses.
Mix flour, soda, spices and salt. Add to above, just until blended. Dough should be stiff. Add a bit of flour if dough is too soft.
Using a small ice-cream scoop, form walnut-sized dough balls and dip into the raw sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet with sugar side up.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes for softer cookies, longer for crispier cookies. Cookies will crack on top.
Bake cookies, roast marshmallows and make s’mores cookie sandwich. Dip one half of cookie in melted chocolate to make half-moon pies.