Monday, August 23, 2010

Sugar-Topped Molasses Spice Cookies

The urge to bake a batch of cookies struck yesterday evening so I asked my husband what he'd like - but that he should keep in mind my baking cupboard was bare of chocolate save for cocoa (a tragedy, for sure!!).

After thinking on it for a little while, he decided he liked the idea of a spicy gingery cookie - something like a Starbucks product typically offered during the fall.

If you have a decently stocked pantry, you should have everything you need to put these cookies together. They'll make your house smell fabulous and they taste delicious, too.

This cookie is soft and chewy, the sugar adding a bit of a crunch. The flavor is unmistakeably autumn but we enjoyed them just fine here at the end of August! Ginger, cinnamon, allspice and a good coarse grinding of black pepper (even just cracked, if you like the spiciness!) are the main flavor stars but the molasses ties everything together with it's warmth.

Sugar-Topped Molasses Spice Cookies
Makes 24
Bon App

2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
pinch (small or not so small ) of cracked or coarsely ground black pepper
3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
1 large egg
granulated white sugar for rolling

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and pepper.

Beat the butter on medium speed until it is smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and molasses and beat for 2 minutes or until blended, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add the egg and beat another minute. Add the dry ingredients, mixing until the flour and spices disappear. If there are any dry ingredients remaining at bottom of bowl, do not overbeat the dough and mix them in by hand with a spatula or spoon. The dough will be quite soft and smooth.

Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for an hour or freeze for 30 minutes. You can refrigerate dough for up to 4 days at this point if desired.

Preheat oven to 350F and line baking sheets with parchment or silpat. Place the granulated sugar into a small dish.

Break off pieces of the dough (you should have 24 pieces) and roll each piece into a smooth ball between your hands. Roll the balls into the sugar and place on baking sheet. Dip the bottom of a glass into the sugar and press the cookies down to 1/4-1/2 inch thickness.

Bake 12-14 minutes or until the tops of the cookies feel set. Remove from oven and transfer to rack to cool to room temperature. I sprinkled just a touch of sugar on top of the still warm cookies for aesthetic purpose and added crunch.

Cookies will keep for one week in cookie jar and can be frozen up to 2 months in an airtight container.


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