04 February 2009

Spiced molasses cookies

Out of nowhere, I had an intense craving for a gingersnap cookie. I wanted something sweet and spicy. However, I don't love crisp cookies, and wanted something softer and chewier. These Spiced Molasses Cookies from Dorie Greenspan hit the spot. They had a bit of crunch on the outside, were chewy on the inside, and sufficiently sweet and spicy. If, all of a sudden, you are craving gingersnap or molasses cookies - I suggest these.

Sugar-topped Molasses Spice Cookies

from Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
1 large egg
Sugar, for rolling

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

Beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and molasses and beat for 2 minutes or so to blend. Add the egg and beat for 1 minute more. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing until the flour and spices disappear. If some flour remains in the bottom of the bowl, to avoid overbeating the dough, mix in the last of the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula. The dough will be smooth and very soft dough.

Divide the dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Freeze for 30 minutes, or refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (I left in the refrigerator overnight and baked the cookies the next day.) Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment. Put the sugar in a small bowl. Working with one packet of dough at a time, divide it into 12 pieces, and roll each piece into a smooth ball between your palms. One by one, roll the balls around in the bowl of sugar, and place them on the baking sheets. Dip the bottom of a glass into the sugar and use it to press down on the cookies until they are between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the tops feel set to the touch. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to room temperature.

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