Do you have any go-to recipes that you make over and over until you almost have them memorized? I do, but not for ordinary, standard things. I don’t have a go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe, or whole wheat bread, or grilled chicken, or blueberry muffin recipe. I have ones for broccoli, challah bread, (maybe I’ll share that soon!) chickpea salad sandwiches, and these molasses cookies.
I’ve made these more times than I can count over the last few years. They come together quickly, there’s no fancy ingredients, and they are a crowd-pleaser. They are simple without being uninteresting, gently spiced, and an absolute revelation warm and fresh out of the oven with an cold glass of milk. I believe this so strongly that I recommend that if you know you’re not going to eat the whole batch right away, bake a few and keep the dough refrigerated for up to 3 days, frozen for more, baking as needed.
Can we talk for a minute about cookie texture? I think these hit the mark. I don’t like cakey, puffy cookies, nor hard, crisp ones. Instead, these cookies are slightly gooey in the middle and crisp on the edges – perfection in my book. But don’t trust my opinion. Try them out for yourself.
Molasses Spice Cookies
Adapted ever so slightly from The New Best Recipes Cookbook (Cook’s Illustrated)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsulphured molasses
Preheat oven to 375˚.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices and set aside.
In another medium bowl, cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, and molasses and continue stirring. Pro-tip: Oil your measuring cup to insure the molasses will come out easily and completely.
Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined.
Pour granulated sugar onto a plate, maybe about 1/3-1/2 cup. Now, take a small amount of dough in your hand and roll it into a 1 1/2 inch ball, and roll into the sugar, and place on the cookie sheet 2 inches apart. It is easier to roll the cookies if you let the dough chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes, but it won’t hurt anything not to do that. Sometimes you just can’t wait!
Bake for 10-12 minutes (I found 11 to be perfect) until brown and crackled on top. Let them sit on the pan for 2 minutes, then remove. Store in an airtight container if not eating immediately.
Note on the spices: Because it’s what I had on hand, I used fresh grated ginger this time around, which added a heat to it that ground ginger lacks. It’s good either way, but if you’re using fresh ginger knock it down to 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon.