Monday, December 5, 2011

Soft and Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies

I LOVE the baking season! For me, it starts around Thanksgiving, goes into high gear around Christmas and then keeps going until those hot Virginia summers start to make the kitchen a less-than-blissful place to be. I've made a whole variety of spice cookies over the year, but these soft and chewy ones that have appeared in various editions of Cook's Illustrated over the years really do take the cake. :)

Soft and Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies

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!
3. Beat butter and sugars together at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and mix in egg yolk and vanilla, increasing speed to medium until incorporated. Reduce speed back to medium-low and add molasses, scraping bottom and sides of bowl as needed with rubber spatula.
4. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, beating until just incorporated into mixture. Give dough a final stir with rubber spatula to make sure no pockets of dry mixture remain. Dough should be soft.

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.

Joining all the Christmas baking fun at
Desiring Virtue


  1. I make these all year round and intead of molasses I use Treacle and make sure they come out chewy rather than crisp. The house smells wonderful when they are cooking. I also make a German version.

  2. MMMM, those looks amazing! I love gingersnaps and these sound kind of like those so I'm sure I would love them. I'm curious about what the pepper does though.