So, the morning talk shows are telling me that summer is over, what with all the talk about fall fashions and whether you can or cannot wear white at this time of year (BTW, “They” say we can, so aren’t you glad we have permission?). But I have other things on my mind besides jackets, boots, cooler weather and fall leaves, though I’m excited about all those things too. For me, it’s time to get the pantry stocked for the upcoming Baking Season! And every year, one thing that always makes my list – molasses. And friends, add it to your list right now. You won’t be sorry. Because I really want you to make these Molasses Cookies. I discovered this recipe in a great cookbook several years ago and I’ve been making them, by request, ever since. I can find the recipe almost by feel in the cookbook, it practically turns to the page by itself.
Molasses Cookies are similar in flavor to Ginger Snaps, but these cookies have a chewy bite rather than the crunch of traditional ginger snaps, and the recipe actually contains no ginger at all. In fact, the secret ingredient in Molasses Cookies is surprising but essential to the peppery (that’s a hint), ginger flavor. This recipe depends on a healthy dose of ground black pepper. Yep, one full teaspoon of pepper gives Molasses Cookies their interesting bite, but you wouldn’t know what you were tasting unless you were told. In addition to the black pepper, these tasty morsels include ground allspice and cinnamon.
If you stock your pantry with molasses now, you’ll have all the ingredients to make these delicious treats at a whim. The recipe creams together quickly, and then you just roll the dough into one or two-inch balls, depending on your preference (cookies in the photos are from two-inch balls). Roll the balls in additional sugar and bake. Don’t flatten the cookies before baking, they’ll spread out and get this beautiful “crack” all on their own. Cook’s note: Roll cookies in regular sugar, don’t use sanding or large-grain sugar.
The cookies come out of the oven a light-ginger color and continue to darken as they cool. These are perfect with a big glass of milk or cup of coffee or tea. Another reason to be ready for drop-in or invited guests. Molasses Cookies are perfect at any holiday cookie exchange because they’re super easy, have a unique taste, and the flavor is even better when savored a few days after baking. This recipe has become a favorite treat as the seasons change around here. I hope they become a favorite for you, all year round.
- ¾ cup sugar, plus additional for coating
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup unsulphered molasses
- 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and then add the molasses.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, allspice, cinnamon and black pepper. Whisk together and then add to the sugar and butter combination. Mix well, but don't over mix it.
- Form dough into 1 or 2-inch balls and roll in additional sugar. Place 2 inches apart prepared cookie sheet.
- Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until set. Do not overbake these. You want the inside nice and soft, but FYI, even the extra crispy ones are delicious.
- Repeat with remaining dough until used up.
- If making 1-inch balls, this recipe will make about 4 dozen. If making 2-inch balls, recipe makes 2 dozen. (Photos were made using 2-inch balls)
- P.S. These cookies are at their peak 24 hours after baking. The spices intensify and the texture is perfection.
Recipe from Lee Bailey’s Country Desserts Cookbook. (If you’re a baker, get.this.book!)