Posted on April 1st, 2010 by Bertine
One of my favorite recipes is this Molasses Spice Cookie recipe from Simply Recipes (which they got from Cook’s Illustrated’s The Best Recipe cookbook). I make this 5-10 times every winter and it is always a huge hit.
First a note on butter. Usually I am not a huge snob when it comes to ingredients, I don’t use too much imitation stuff but I don’t go out of my way to get expensive or organic items for many things because I am pretty cheapfrugal and too lazy to go to out of my way to get them. However, when I come across a recipe that starts with “Use an electric mixer and beat the butter” I invest in good butter. I go to my local co-op and get a butter with a higher fat content than regular grocery store butter. If I can’t find one or am stuck at the regular store I buy the freshest butter that indents the least when you poke it. Yes, I poke the butter at the store, I am that weirdo.
This butter will make a huge difference in the texture of the cookie. First, the dough will stay cooler longer. I don’t soften my butter ahead of time for a few reasons (mostly my cat that finds and eats any butter) but the cooler your dough is when you put it in the oven the better it will hold it’s shape when you bake it. I also really follow the directions when it tells you to beat the butter because that is how you get lift into your cookie. You are really relying on the fat in the butter and any air you beat into it to make it chewy.
Plus I think using this sort of butter makes the cookies taste better.
I made my notes to the original recipe in italics. The pictures in this post are of a double batch.
Molasses Spice Cookies Recipe
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed – I have used light brown sugar, it works fine, the cookies are just not as strong.
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/3 cup for rolling cookies
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsulphered molasses
Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice together in a bowl and set aside.
Use an electric mixer and beat the butter for 2 minutes.
Add the brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes with mixer set at medium speed.
Add egg, vanilla extract, and molasses. (Note: Since I don’t have one of these, I pour the molasses in a liquid measuring cup, then I add the egg and vanilla and mix them together. This makes it much easier to get the molasses out of the cup.) Beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula.
Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds. (Note: I add it a little bit at a time because the flour get all over the place. This wouldn’t be a problem if I didn’t always make a double batch.)
Place remaining 1/3 cup of granulated sugar in a shallow bowl. Working with 2 Tbsp of dough each time, roll dough into 1 3/4 inch balls. Roll balls in sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheets, spacing them 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart. (Note: Cookie scoops are your friends)
Bake until the outer edges of the cookies begin to set and centers are soft and puffy, about 11 to 13 minutes. Cool cookies on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes before transferring them to cooling racks .
Note: do not overcook. The centers of the cookies should be somewhat soft and spongy when you take them out of the oven, otherwise they will end up hard and dry.