what better way to celebrate turning a quarter of a century than hosting a phenomenal extravaganza: a multi-dish meal for a table full of hungry people. clearly, my friend the great fermentor knew how to celebrate the big 2-5 right. bring on entertaining and hosting with the mosting. bring on delicious dinner served outdoors with friends, family, and even a dog named ginger (how appropriate!)

while the meal itself was amazing (za’atar, homemade labna, fried haloumi, pickled lemons, chickpea salad, greens with violets and raw rhubarb, sardines, wine-braised artichoke hearts, roasted asparagus…!), i must say that dessert really sealed the deal. any birthday girl knows that the key to a successful birthday is that finale of taste: the sweet completes the meal, the day, and welcomes in the new year with lovely smiles and an enthusiastic lick of the fingers. yes, i mean finger-licking goodness. and ms. blair had the package deal: (sp)ice cream sandwiches. by that, i mean her very own nutmeg orange-zest cashew milk ice cream sandwiched between chewy, soft, lovely spice cookies. what better way to beckon in numero veinte-cinco?!

i really can’t lie. i had been looking forward to this celebratory evening of gastronomic delight for a week. and, when i asked if there was anything i could do to help with the preparations, food or otherwise, i joyously accepted the role of birthday-cookie-baker. the birthday ice cream needed a sandwich. what a phenomenal honor for me, what a grand way to participate! amused, i set off to find (create) the perfect spice cookie: chewy, spicy, with bite and subtle sweetness. oh the glories of the cookie.

spice cookies

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1 tablespoon orange zest

1. pre-heat oven to 350. mix flour through salt with a whisk.

2. beat butter and brown sugar. then add egg, molasses, honey, and orange peel.
3. combine wet and dry ingredients until smooth, but do not over mix.
4. prepare a small bowl with sugar, scoop tablespoons of batter and roll them into balls. then roll in sugar and set on cookie sheet.

5. bake for 13 to 14 minutes, allow them to cool for one minute, then transfer onto wire rack. they will still be soft, so be gentle. this makes a more chewy and less crispy cookie.
6. find a friend to make some great ice cream, flavored with love and excitement to compliment your chewy spice cookies. make (sp)ice cream sandwiches. EAT!

i will link to blair’s ice cream recipe once it is up on her blog. i know, the anticipation will nearly kill you. but it will most definitely be worth the wait!

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