Tuesday, December 10, 2013

All Curled Up: Chewy Molasses Cookies

Greetings and salutations from the land of butter, sugar and flour.  My little green kitchen is in the throes of a baking marathon, so the next few posts are going to be about cookies and sweet things.  Hope you don't mind.  Yeah, didn't think so.  Lest you think I'm living on cookie dough alone, I've also been throwing together hearty soups and stews, though by the time I sit down to dinner the winter light has faded earlier and earlier, thus no snaps of my turkey and cabbage pottage, which tastes much better than it sounds.  I scribbled down a few notes so it may make an appearance here in January, when none of us want to go near anything with a carb.  But (thankfully) we're not there yet, are we?  

The first cookie out of the gate is of the chewy molasses variety.  Every good baker worth his/her spatula should have a recipe in their arsenal.  You want it just crispy enough around the edges, but with a tender, soft middle.  I personally think gingersnaps should be outlawed - crispy cookies and me just don't get along.  And I'm not much of a dunker, so biscotti is wasted on me.  But the chewy cookie.  Oh, I know this cookie all too well.  We go way, way back, through good times and bad.  This time of year, it's all about the molasses cookie.  I mostly wanted to bake these so my house would smell of Christmas.  Spiked with spices like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves, I pretty much succeeded.  A little Boney M Christmas album also helped the cause.  Seriously.  This video!  

I think the best part about these cookies is just how pretty they look after they are rolled in sugar.  It's worth searching for coarse sugar or sanding sugar, but in a pinch the less attractive cousin granulated white will make do.  Over-baked cookies will not be chewy, so keep an eye on the timer.  And if you think they seem too soft at 8 or 9 minutes - don't worry, they'll set up.  Another bonus feature is that these cookies stay soft for days - perks if you plan on sending them cross country.  

Curled up on the couch, with a cup of my favourite tea and a cookie or two (and a cat or three), it's a grand way to usher in a little holiday spirit. 

 Chewy Molasses Cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup organic cane sugar (or granulated white)
1/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
coarse sugar or raw sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 375*F.  Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven.  Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.  Whisk well.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream egg, butter, sugar and molasses until light - about 2 minutes.  Mix in dry ingredients.  Place coarse sugar in shallow bowl.  Roll the cookie dough into 1 inch balls.  Roll in sugar.  Place 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.  Bake cookies, rotating baking  sheets halfway through, until cookies are puffed, cracked and just set around edges, 8-10 minutes.  Transfer to wire racks, let cool.  {Dough can be made and rolled into balls 2 weeks ahead:  freeze on baking sheet; transfer to resealable plastic bag.  Let sit at room temp before rolling in sugar.  Proceed.}  Makes roughly 30 cookies.  Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, December 2013.   


  1. These look perfect! My ginger cookie recipe yields a more spread out cookie (if you know what I mean), which is fine, but recently I wanted a "tighter" cookie! This is it!
    And you are right, they are so pretty rolled in sugar :)

  2. our family variant of this cookie was already in my 'baking queue' - i think these pictures just moved it to the head of the line! and seriously, when it's minus forty some with the windchill, what could be better than a house smelling like ginger and molasses?

  3. It's a snow day here in Muskoka (50 cm. so far!), so I think I'll just bake up a batch of these. Thanks for the beautiful inspiration :)

  4. Renee, I wish I were all curled up with a plate of these gorgeous molasses cookies right now. You know how to do the holidays right:)

  5. Renee - help ! I made these today and baked one small batch. They taste very good but they are flat as the proverbial pancake. I had put the batter in the fridge to allow it to harden up; but that didn't do the trick. Should I add some more flour to the remaining dough? I would like to produce some cookies that resemble yours.

    1. Adrienne, I'm not sure what happened. Double check the recipe to make sure you added the correct amounts of flour, baking soda, butter and sugars. My dough was quite firm to work with. If it seems too wet, add more flour, and I hope that works for you. Thanks for getting in touch.

    2. Thank you for replying so quickly. It seems that I had a senior moment when I measured the butter - caught somewhere between weights and measuring cups.. I will bake off this batch and try again.

  6. Janice - Thanks! I hope you like them!
    Molly - Bump them to the front! These smell like magic.
    Jennifer - Wow! That's a lot of snow. We have some, been it's been mostly super cold. Baking is always a great way to warm the house!
    Erin - Thanks lady. :)

  7. Beautiful photography! And the cookies look divine :)

  8. I love all your posts and Instagram photos especially the baking ones from the "land of butter, sugar and flour." These cookies do make you want to curl up and be cosy.
    Happy Holidays!

  9. Dina - Thank you!
    Elizabeth - Thanks so much! They are one of my favourites this year :)
    Sonya - Happy Holidays to you as well. I love following your posts as well :)
    Lynette - Great to hear! Thank you!


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