Sunday, August 24, 2008

Molasses Spice Cookies

Molasses Spice Cookies

Molasses Spice Cookies

I strongly believe that gingersnaps and molasses cookies should be enjoyed year-round. While some people save cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and cloves for fall and Christmas recipes, I use them for any occasion. Especially breakfast.

I've tried many kinds of spiced cookies and I definitely have favorites. So, when I tried this Cook's Illustrated recipe, I wasn't expecting much. I just wanted to use up the molasses.

As soon as the cookies came out of the oven, I knew they'd be perfect. They were beautiful: big, sugary, crinkled, and perfectly round. I've tried similar recipes that weren't nearly as consistent- the cookies spread too much, or they looked nothing like they were supposed to. Conversely, these cookies turned out perfectly every time.

I highly recommend this recipe if you like chewy molasses cookies. Don't over bake them, or they will lose their wonderfully chewy texture!

Molasses Spice Cookies
from Cook's Illustrated

Measure the molasses in a liquid measuring cup. If you find that the dough sticks to your palms as you shape the balls, moisten your hands occasionally in a bowl filled with cold water and shake off the excess. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time. If baked two sheets at a time, the cookies started on the bottom rack won’t develop the attractive cracks. The cookies should look slightly raw and underbaked when removed from the oven.

1/3 cup granulated sugar (about 2 1/2 ounces), plus 1/2 cup for dipping
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (11 1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened but still cool
1/3 cup dark brown sugar (about 2 1/2 ounces)
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup molasses (about 6 ounces), light or dark

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 1/2 cup sugar for dipping in 8- or 9-inch cake pan.

2. Whisk flour, baking soda, spices, and salt in medium bowl until thoroughly combined; set aside.

3. In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter with brown and granulated sugars at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and add yolk and vanilla; increase speed to medium and beat until incorporated, about 20 seconds. Reduce speed to medium-low and add molasses; beat until fully incorporated, about 20 seconds, scraping bottom and sides of bowl once with rubber spatula. Reduce speed to lowest setting; add flour mixture and beat until just incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping bowl down once. Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no pockets of flour remain at bottom. Dough will be soft.

4. Using tablespoon measure, scoop heaping tablespoon of dough and roll between palms into 11/2-inch ball; drop ball into cake pan with sugar and repeat to form about 4 balls. Toss balls in sugar to coat and set on prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are browned, still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone), about 11 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Do not overbake.

5. Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes, then use wide metal spatula to transfer cookies to wire rack; cool cookies to room temperature.


Lady Plate said...

Yum--I will definitely have to try these! I, too, make use of ginger, cinnamon & cloves year-round. They're too good to use only in the winter!

Love your blog!

Anonymous said...

In the venerable Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts there are a lot of nifty things. One of the niftiest is her recipe for Craters, a strange little chocolate/walnut cookie. It's my favorite cookie recipe that calls for breadcrumbs.

This is not in the recipe, but instead from the margin notes scribbled in the nearly destroyed paperback copy that sits in my Parent's kitchen: add 1/4 tsp. finely ground cloves.

With that in there, the cookies are euphoric.

Snooky doodle said...

These look perfect. The last molasses cookies i baked were a disaster. These look so delicious. Gonna try them. :-)

Deanna said...

I bake this same recipe at the holidays - they are wonderful! - the best molasses cookie recipe I have found yet! (I stopped looking)

Antonio Tahhan said...

the cracks on top are my favorite part about these cookies (aside from the fact that they look and must taste phenomenal)!!
I usually enjoy these dunked into a tall glass of ice-cold milk - yum!!

spicyicecream said...

When I saw the photo, my only thought was "I HAVE to make these". They look fantastic!

P said...

Doesn't opening the oven door every five minutes totally destabilize your oven temp?

Pittsburgh Needs Eated said...

Em- I didn't bother rotating the sheet while baking and they turned out fine.

P said...

Great; thanks! I'm making these tonight. |=)

Christina said...

I saw this picture and I just thought, "I can't wait until the fall to make these!" Then you said that about enjoying it year-round. For me, it's a mixture of basing the flavors off the season, or trying out different recipes during the 'off-season' and going back to my favorites later. These are my dad's favorite cookie, and he enjoys it year-round.

The crinkle on top, that's what draws people to these cookies, especially how the sugar sparkles, too.

Zo said...

Just made these - they tasted great, but i didn't get the crackly top, possibly because I used a whole egg rather than just the yolk? They taste awesome anyway.

Thanks! I'll e posting these on my blog in a few days, and I'll link back to you

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

love the hues in these photos...

Carrie said...

I just volunteered to bake some desserts for our local Meals on Wheels and was ready to make the Ginger Crackles recipe from The Weekend Baker... then I saw this recipe, and I think I will change my plans! How many cookies will this make? They look great.

Pittsburgh Needs Eated said...

Helpful Librarian:

The ginger crinkle recipe from weekend baker is also good. I can't remember how many cookies the Cook's Illustrated recipe makes, but i'm pretty sure it's less than the other.

Marisa said...

Woo! I found your blog! Thank you so much for making these cookies and bringing them to work. I have to go to Giant Eagle to get the ingredients so I can make them in my downtime.

Unknown said...

Thank you!! I have been looking for a recipe that would match the one my Grandma used to use. This is it! My Grandpa Foote loved these cookies and when I eat them it reminds me of him!