Molasses Spice Cookies
One of my best memories of Christmas as a kid is (of course) food related. We would all bundle up, get in our massive blue van (it was one of those old school ones with curtains and a VCR/TV combo) and head to Minnesota to visit relatives. When we got there everyone would typically be a little grumpy, a little hungry, and very tired, but no matter how much I wanted to run into my Aunt’s basement and find my corner to sleep in, the most important thing was finding the cookies. My aunt made the Most Amazing Molasses Cookies. Ever. They were huge, like the size of your head huge. They had perfect texture, chewy on the outside and soft in the middle with crunchy-coarse grains of sugar sprinkled across their crackled tops; they were just the right thickness too: a good mouthful, but not too much. Everything about them was amazing. She would have them in a tin, hidden up on the counter somewhere ready to put out for Christmas, and I would have to sneak around in the kitchen (well at least I thought I was being sneaky) while the adults caught up to try and find them. Just one of those cookies was plenty to fill me up, and give me a full on sugar rush.
These cookies are dedicated to those cookies of Christmases past. My aunt doesn’t make those big-as-your-face cookies anymore, and even though they were the best thing ever, I couldn’t eat a cookie that big anymore either! I took her molasses cookie recipe, made them a bit smaller, and added black pepper and ginger for a grown up twist. I didn’t cut back on the sugar though…so please, consider yourself warned…these aren’t exactly a health food. But if you’ve got this far, it’s too late to turn back now! These cookies are calling your name, and you better answer them!
You can definitely make these bigger than the 1 1/2″ balls that I recommend. Just make sure you up the cooking time a bit to account for their larger size. Also make sure that you pull them out a little before they look done. You want them to still look a little doughy in between the cracks. Once you take them out of the oven and let them sit on the pan for a bit they’ll firm up just enough that they are cooked through, but not too much that they loose that soft chew. They stay soft on the inside, and get just the right amount of chew around the edges.
Make sure that you roll the cookies in sugar after forming them as that will help them develop their characteristic crackly appearance. Yes, I know, more sugar. But these are Christmas cookies after all. If you find that you’re still making and eating them in May…well…can I come over? 😛
- 1/3 cup Dark Brown Sugar
- 1/3 cup White Sugar
- 12 tbsp Butter room temp
- 1 Egg
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 5 oz Dark Molasses (a little less than 1/2 cup)
- 2 1/3 cup All Purpose Flour
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp Ginger
- 1/2 ntsp Cloves
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/2 Cup White Sugar for rolling
Preheat the oven to 375. Line two cookie sheets with parchment. Sift the dry ingredients together into a medium bowl.
In the bowl of a stand mixer add the softened butter and sugars. Beat until light and well combined, 3-4 minutes.
Add the egg, vanilla and molasses and combine on medium speed.
Slowly stir in the flour mixture until just combined. The dough will be soft, but workable.
Divide dough into three equal portions. I like to put each portion on a paper plate set on a scale to ensure accuracy.
Starting with the first portion of dough, divide it into eight equal pieces. For each piece, roll it into a ball, roll it in the granulated sugar until it is thoroughly covered, and then put it on the cookie tray. You should get 8 balls per pan.
Bake one sheet at a time for 10-11 minutes. The cookies will still look doughy in the center when you take them out, this is important for them to stay soft!
Let the cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes and then remove to a rack. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cookies can be kept in the fridge for up to 10 days.