Friday, December 19, 2008
One Christmas several years ago, I made a batch of molasses cookies, and as is my wont, I overbaked them. Instead of chewy cookies, they were hard. But because I hadn't actually burned them, they were still edible. A couple days later, SJG made a batch, and hers were perfect. We packed up all the cookies, SJG's and mine, to divvy up between my mother's Wisconsin household and my father's, where SJG and I were spending the holiday that year.
SJG's cookies were a hit, of course. Mine were ignored until all the others had been eaten up. They didn't go to waste though. When we had returned home, my mother called. "I've found a way to eat those cookies" she chortled. "They are PERFECT if you dunk them in milk! Why don't you send me some more," she continued. "But send me SJG's, not yours!"
This year, in fond memory of my mother, I made a batch of those molasses cookies. And I didn't overbake them.
Below is the recipe, adapted from the cookie edition of Fine Cooking that came out last month. The dough requires refrigeration before baking, so plan accordingly.
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature or softened in the microwave (I like to use premium butter for baking)
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup molasses (I like the strong, full flavor of blackstrap molasses, but any unsulphured molasses works well)
granulated sugar for rolling the cookie dough in
1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt.
2. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer and add the canola oil.
3. Add the molasses and the egg to the butter mixture and blend well.
4. Stir in the flour mixture and combine well.
5. Wrap dough in plastic wrap or put it in a plastic bag and refrigerate for about 3 hours.
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Pinch off a walnut-sized piece of cookie dough and roll it in your palms to form
a smooth ball. (It's a messy process, so you may want to wash your hands after you've rolled a sheet of cookies.)
3. Roll the ball in granulated sugar to coat. Place on a lightly greased cookie
sheet (or you can use a Silpat mat instead of greasing the cookie sheet).
4. Repeat the process until you've used all the cookie dough. Sprinkle each ball
of dough on the cookie sheet with a little extra granulated sugar.
5. Bake 8-9 minutes until the center surface of the cookies is dry. Avoid the
temptation to overbake.
6. Cool the cookies on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes after you've taken them
out of the oven. Cool completely on a wire rack before storing. These cookies
*Makes about 2-1/2 sheets of cookies (roughly 36 cookies)