Day 5: What would Christmas be without the traditional molasses/ginger cookie? I’ve actually made these once before for the blog, but it was so long ago, I didn’t think anyone would remember. Plus, I’ve tried a few similar recipes in the meantime, and really, none of them compare to this one. So this one you get.
As long as you don’t overbake them, these turn out to be delightfully soft and chewy, with a great spicy gingerbread/molasses flavor. I, however, did overbake mine. Terribly. The ones you see in the picture are the only ones that turned out well (I finally learned my lesson by the time the last cookie sheet went in the oven). All the cookies stacked up in the back that are out of focus? Those are dry and hard and crispy. So don’t do what I did. Take these out as soon as they start to look done. Don’t wait for all the customary cracks to appear, they’ll come as the cookie cools. If you do it right, you’ll be left with a perfectly textured cookie with a gingerbread flavor that makes you think of Christmas.
2 ¼ cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp cloves
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter at room temp
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
¼ cup molasses
about ¼ cup granulated sugar
Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves into a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until smoothly blended, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. Add the egg and molasses and mix until blended and an even light brown color, about 1 minute. On low speed, add the flour mixture, mixing just to incorporate.
Spread the granulated sugar on a large piece of wax or parchment paper. Roll 1-2 Tbsp of dough between the palms of your hands into a ball, roll the ball in the sugar and place on one of the prepared baking sheets. Continue making cookies, spacing them 2 inches apart.
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm, but they are still soft in the center and there are a few small cracks on top, about 12 minutes. Don't overbake. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 2-3 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.