Saturday, September 24, 2011

Molasses Spice Cookies

This might be our favorite cookie recipe. Every fall and winter, these cookies make quite a few appearances around our house. Of course, you could make these anytime of year but there's something about the spices...ginger, cloves, all-spice, black pepper, and little cayenne that say fall and winter to me. If you love ginger snaps, then you will love these cookies. They have a similar taste to ginger snaps but a very different texture. They are chewy and soft on the inside and slightly crunchy on the outside from the raw sugar coating. We can't get enough of these cookies. I even like to give these as gifts...

Molasses Spice Cookies
Servings: ~16 large cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. black or white pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
12 tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1/2 cup turbinado (raw) sugar

Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, spices, pepper, and salt together. Set aside.

In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolk and vanilla extract until well combined. Beat in the molasses until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Do not over mix. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. 

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Place the turbinado sugar in a shallow dish or small bowl. Roll the chilled dough into balls of the desired size, ~2 tbsp each, and place in the bowl with the turbinado sugar. Roll the balls in the sugar to coat. (I used an ice-cream scoop to scoop them directly into the sugar and tossed them in sugar using a fork. This way the dough and sugar didn't stick to my hands. Less mess!) Place on the prepared baking sheet. (Store the extra dough in the refrigerator between batches.) Gently press the tops of the cookies down ever so slightly using two fingers.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, one baking sheet at a time, or until the tops are cracked but the center is still soft and slightly undercooked. Rotate the baking sheets halfway through baking. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes (don't skip this because the center keeps cooking). Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store the cooled cookies in an air-tight container.

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