1/3 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup for dipping
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. pepper (yes, you read that right!)
12 T. unsalted butter, softened but still a little cool
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup molasses (I prefer mild)
1. Place oven rack in middle and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour 1/2 cup sugar for dipping into a small cake pan.
2. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt and spices together in bowl until thoroughly combined, and then set aside. The mixture should have a dingy color throughout. If there are still pockets of white, it's not mixed up enough!
5. Using a tablespoon, scoop out a heaping tablespoon of dough and form into a ball with your hands. Deposit ball into the cake pan of sugar. Repeat 4-5 times and then toss the balls together in the cake pan until all are coated with sugar. Place on prepared baking sheet, about 1-2 inches apart.
6. Bake only 1 sheet of cookies at a time until they are puffy and edges have begun to set, but center is still soft (about 10-11 minutes). You get the best results if you turn your baking sheet about halfway through baking.
7. Cool cookies on sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire rack. Cookies can be stored in ziploc bags or airtight containers if needed. Makes about 2 dozen.
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