If I were to list my top five favorite foods, cookies would be planted firmly at number one (Diet Coke would come in at a close second…I know, I know, so sue me). Some of my fondest memories revolve around my mom’s homemade chocolate chip cookies, which we’ve made together so many times I know the recipe by heart. It was my mom who taught me that shortening, not butter, is the trick to getting a soft cookie with a nice crunch on the outside. Her cookies are my comfort food. They speak to my heart and my soul.
While chocolate chip cookies may be my first and true love, I have been known to cheat on them from time to time. Chewy molasses cookies are particularly tantalizing during the holiday season, and sometimes, a girl just has to give in to temptation.
These are Phil’s favorite cookies, but I can’t bring myself to make them outside of the holiday season. There is something so quintessentially Christmas about molasses cookies. I think it’s the spices – cloves, cinnamon, ginger – and the sticky, dark molasses that binds them to create a strong, spicy and somewhat bitter flavor, perfect with a cup of hot tea with milk. You can imagine how amazing the house smells when a batch of these are baking in the oven.
Good things come in pretty packages. Stacks of crispy molasses cookies tied up with bright red ribbon make beautiful gifts for hosts and neighbors. Wrap them with clear cellophane for safe keeping.
Chewy Molasses Cookies
(adapted from All Recipes)
makes about 5 dozen cookies
3/4 cup melted butter
1 cup plus 1/2 cup white granulated sugar, separated
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
In a medium bowl or using your KitchenAid, mix together the melted butter, 1 cup sugar and egg until smooth. Stir in the molasses. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. Mix the dry ingredients into the molasses mixture. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and chill dough in the refrigerator for one hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Using your hands, roll dough into walnut sized balls, and one by one, roll them in the remaining 1/2 cup of white sugar. Place dough balls 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until the tops crack. Transfer cookies on wire racks to cool.