Monday, December 7, 2015

Ginger Molasses Cookies

I never know whether I should use my limited free time to try new cookie recipes for Christmastime or stick with the recipes I know well, guaranteeing delicious results. I somewhat split the difference with these Ginger Molasses Cookies: these aren’t cookies I make regularly, but they probably should be.

There are lots of ways to make Ginger Molasses Cookies or various other ginger cookies or various other molasses cookies. I just settled on this one somewhat randomly, reduced the batch size, and substituted butter for the shortening.

I rarely have shortening in the house, so the butter swap was really more of a convenience than a hard-core culinary decision. I think I can taste the butter in the cookies, though, where perhaps the shortening would be close to flavorless. The shortening may also make a puffier cookie, where mine were thin and very soft and chewy.

I loved the big punch from the ginger in these cookies and the dark background of molasses. I suppose rolling the cookie dough in coarse sugar before baking isn’t absolutely necessary, but it gives the cookies a crunchy coating. And, frankly, it makes them pretty. I had a coarse, unrefined sugar on hand, but I think the sparkliest sugar you can find would make the prettiest cookies. While yumminess rules when it comes to any cookies, you know that a little bit of pretty goes a long way with your holiday sweets. Enjoy!

Ginger Molasses Cookies
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

You can shape the dough or part of the dough into a disk, wrap it well, and refrigerate it for a few days or even freeze it.

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
¼ cup molasses
About ½ cup coarse sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare cookie sheets by lightly greasing or lining with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. In a medium-size bowl, combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together to combine well. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1 cup granulated sugar and beat until well-combined, scraping the bowl at least once.

4. Beat in the egg and molasses scrape the bowl again and beat until smooth. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until completely combined.

5. Pour the coarse sugar into a small bowl. Shape the dough into balls about 1-1 ½ inches in diameter. Roll the dough balls in the coarse sugar to coat. Arrange the dough on the prepared cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.

6. Bake at 350 F for 8-11 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned around the edges and the tops look crackled and dry. Cool on the pan at least 1 minute. Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack. The cookies will be thin and chewy.

Makes about 40 cookies.

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