tastes like december

2 Aug

I started the search for the perfect molasses cookies my senior year in high school, when I took Ms. Stegall’s writing sem.  Every now and then, she would bring in these cookies–I can remember the fragrance of mingled clove and cinnamon spilling out into the hallway, the texture of the sugar granules surrounding the buttery molasses goodness.  I don’t know why I never thought to ask for the recipe.

Anyway, this recipe is the best I’ve found.  It’s from the Cook’s Illustrated The New Best Recipe (by the way, if you own just one cookbook, this should be your book).  I’ve had a few requests for the recipe in the last year (I might bring them to small group from time to time), so without further delay…

Molasses Spice Cookies

courtesy e.r.


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/3 cup for rolling cookies
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsulphered molasses


1 Preheat oven to 375°F.  Mix together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice together in a bowl and set aside.

2 Use an electric mixer and beat the butter for 2 minutes.  Add the brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes with mixer set at medium speed.  Add egg, vanilla extract, and molasses. Beat until combined, about 30 seconds.  Scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula.

3 Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.

4 Place remaining 1/3 cup of granulated sugar in a shallow bowl.  Working with 2 Tbsp of dough each time, roll dough into 1 3/4 inch balls.  Roll balls in sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheets, spacing them 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart.

5 Bake until the outer edges of the cookies begin to set and centers are soft and puffy, about 11-12 minutes, do NOT overcook.***  Cool cookies on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes before transferring them to cooling racks .

*** The centers of the cookies should be somewhat soft and spongy (they look under-cooked) when you take them out of the oven, otherwise they will end up hard and dry.

There’s an optional glaze, but I’ve never tried it…I really think these cookies are the cat’s pajamas without the added hoopla (though Eric and I once made them with homemade cream cheese frosting, but that was pretty much just an excuse to eat frosting with a spoon).  Now I just need to try a gluten-free alternative…rice flower?  Otherwise I’ll be forced to stick with frosting and fro-yo, I suppose.  And chocolate.


10 Responses to “tastes like december”

  1. Eric August 2, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    this holiday cheer was a big hit in Los Angeles. Everyone is looking forward to meeting you.

    • annaojesus August 2, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

      clearly it was the one who baked the cookies who made the magic! you’re a baker! thanks for the shout-out though–warms my heart! i’m looking forward to meeting them, and i hope i don’t disappoint :/

  2. Grace August 2, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

    Mmmm…. I just made these last week for my Bible Study because I missed you. I told them that I made the cookies because I missed Autumn, but clearly it was you that I miss! Yum yum yum!

    • annaojesus August 2, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

      oh honey! you’re so sweet! how’d they turn out? miss you back!

      • Grace August 2, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

        Delicious! I had to bring them to work to keep myself from eating the whole batch. Clearly self-control is not my strong suit around these heavenly cookies!

      • annaojesus August 2, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

        Ha! Mine neither, but the inability to consume gluten helps…only a little 🙂

  3. Grace August 2, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

    P.S. One of my goals for the Fall is to master parisian macarons. And since they’re made with almond flour, I think it will be mandatory that you come visit and help me eat them.

  4. tricia August 5, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    those look delicious! I love that cookbook – thanks to your trip to PG & that amazing tomato soup 🙂 I had to go out & buy the cookbook & now think of you everytime open it! love ya 🙂

    • annaojesus August 5, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

      tricia!!! so good to hear from you! how have you been??

      i love you! and i always think of you whenever i make that soup 🙂 miss you and think of you frequently…much love!

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