Thursday, November 29, 2012

Soft Molasses Cookies

Return to Pooh Corner by Kenny Loggins
Today's recipe takes me back to my children's childhood - so I needed a song to reflect that time of our life.  This CD played on an endless loop in the house as well as on the road.  It made everyone happy - especially in the car.  Although it is a children's album, it appeals to all listener's.  For years it was my gift of choice for baby showers as I was eager for others to experience it's soulful and calming charm.  Call it the "Child Whisperer," if you will.  It was hard for me to settle on one particular song from the collection, but in the end I've decided to go with the title track - mostly, to be honest, because of the recorded child's giggle at the 2:18 mark.  Who can resist a giggling child?!  And that's Amy Grant making a contribution on one of the verses and harmony.  I'd say to just get the whole album, have a listen, and just try to be grumpy.  It's impossible!  All is well in the world at Pooh Corner!  And in my kitchen at the moment ~

My children used to get a kid's magazine in the mail.  It was filled with fun stories, quick crafts, and, often, a recipe.  For the most part, the recipes were elementary things like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or chocolate milk.  But, now and then, they had something that caught my eye.

I'm not certain, but I think that this recipe came from that magazine.  You see, I copied it off, by hand - and then have recopied it several times, by hand, and, over the years, I just can't remember for sure how it landed in my recipe box.  Let's just say I'm glad it did!  And you will be, too!

The molasses cookies in my life, up to the point of finding this recipe, had been the hard kind - crispy - a bit harsh in flavor.  The molasses would bowl you right over with it's strappy flavor.  Nothing like a mouth full of sulphur, right?  But these cookies are soft!  And the molasses, while prevalent, is luxuriously alluring - almost like chocolate.

As a kid, I remember having to be coaxed a bit into eating a molasses cookie.  I mean, if there were other options, I'd probably have chosen the others before opting for the molasses.  But this recipe was always welcomed and readily eaten by my family.  They are easy to make so you're not that far from experiencing the goodness yourself.  They would even be a great addition to your holiday cookie platter!  Make them now and then freeze the rolled dough balls to be baked off later.  Just thinking ahead for you!

I used two different kinds of sugar for the coating - granulated and turbinado.  I personally like the looks of the turbinado sugar.  See?!  They look like they have twinkle lights!
The turbinado sugar also gives a nice texture to the cookie.  But, please, the regular granulated sugar gives you a cookie that is just as wonderful!  Be prepared to make stacks and stacks - you're going to need them!

Soft Molasses Cookies
makes 5 dozen
Printable Recipe Card
1 1/3 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. molasses
4 c. flour
1 T. baking soda
1 t. ginger
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/2 c. granulated or 1 c. turbinado sugar for the outside of cookies

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy in texture - about 5 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating one before adding the next.  Add the molasses and blend well.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt.  Whisk until ingredients are well-combined.  Add the dry ingredients, all at once, to the wet ingredients and mix just until the ingredients come together.

The dough is a bit tacky to the touch so, at this point, you can chill the dough to make it easier to handle.  When chilled, roll into walnut-sized balls and then roll in the sugar.  Another option would be to scoop dough about the size of a walnut and drop it right into the sugar.  Lightly roll the cookie around to get coated in the sugar, then place in the palm of your hands and lightly roll to shape into a ball.  Place on a sheet tray and chill for about 20 - 30 minutes.  You can freeze them at this point to be baked later.
I love having cookies ready to go from the freezer so I opted to do the "drop and roll and chill later" procedure.  Never bank on the hope that you'll have more time "later."  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake the cookies for 10 - 12 minutes, rotating tray halfway through baking.

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