My sister is a cookie making virtuoso and when it's her turn to host family dinner, Paul and I start perseverating about her dessert days in advance! While my sister is a cookie genius, I am the cookie klutz in the family. The problem with my often laissez-faire attitude to cookie making is that baking depends on science and precision. In a spurt of baking abandonment this past weekend, I guesstimated the amount of baking soda and "tweaked" a recipe in a few too many places...the result was a cookie-bomb that covered the baking sheet and my oven. My kitchen filled with smoke and feeling my baking-esteem slipping, I ditched the improvised-cookie plan and soothed myself with a batch of one of our foolproof favorites: Blackstrap Molasses Cookies.
There are many things to recommend these Blackstrap Molasses Cookies. They have a complex, caramel taste with a warm spiciness and satisfying soft texture. Molasses is the mineral and flavor-rich by-product spun off of sugar during processing. "Blackstrap" is the darkest most intensely flavored version of molasses, so rich in minerals and vitamins that some people take it as a dietary supplement. These cookies are a favorite in our household: soft, rich, and deeply spiced. The recipe is adapted from Gourmet.
Yield: 2-3 dozen
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cups butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
- 1/4 cup corn syrup
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
- Using a stand-mixer (or hand-mixer), beat the butter and brown sugar together at high speed for 3 minutes in stand-mixer (6 minutes with a hand-mixer). The mixture will become pale and fluffy.
- Add egg, molasses and syrup and mix to combine.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, pepper and salt).
- Add the dry ingredients to the butter-egg mixture and mix only enough to fully incorporate.
- Refrigerate for at least an hour. This allows the dough to firm up, leading to more even baking, less cookie spreading, and easier handling.
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- Using a tablespoon scoop, make make the dough into small balls. In a separate small bowl mix together the sugar topping (sugar and salt). Roll each dough ball in the sugar and salt mixture to coat.
- Bake on a baking sheet for 11 minutes. You are looking for the edges to be done, but the middles to appear under-cooked, this slight under baking helps these cookies to achieve their lovely soft texture and crackly appearance.