September 18, 2012

Sugared Molasses Cookies

It's not technically autumn yet, but on this dreary, sloppy, wet, cold (am I painting an ample picture?) day, I needed to make molasses cookies.

Yes, you read that correctly.  Autumn = molasses cookies.  I'm one of those people who associates certain foods with seasons.  Rich, hearty fair like stews, roasts, pumpkin pie (or muffins...or pumpkin anything for that matter) and molasses cookies are definitely fall and winter food.  Nonetheless, not I realize not everyone feels this way; I've actually had a debate with someone over when you should eat molasses cookies. 

It doesn't matter when you make them, they're damn good all year long.  I'm not sure where the recipe came from.  I begged an former co-worker for it (and her name is Autumn, nifty!) who cited 'the internet' as her source.

Collect the following ingredients:

3/4 cup butter, softened or shortening
1/3 cup fancy molasses (or black strap for a bolder flavour)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2tsp baking soda
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup white sugar 

Crank your oven up to 350'F (180'C).  Expect 48 small or 24 large cookies.

Fresh ginger gives a fabulous flavour to these cookies.  My aunt (the Gingerbread Lady....and Strawberry Lady) swears by fresh ginger, and she makes AH-MAY-ZING gingerbread.  I keep my ginger frozen until I need to use it and then grate it with a microplane.  Of course, if you have ground ginger in your cupboard, go ahead and use it in place of the fresh stuff.

With an electric mixer, beat butter, molasses and brown sugar together.  Add the egg and mix well until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Stir until smooth.

Add dry ingredients to the molasses mixture and blend slowly, either by hand or with an electric mixer.  Don't forget to scrape down the sides!

The dough should be slightly sticky, but if it's TOO sticky (ie cannot be formed into a ball for the life of it), add a little more flour.

Pour white sugar into a small bowl.  Take a tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball, roll it the sugar and place on an un-greased cookie sheet.

Press down slightly with the back of a spoon.

I like to make larger cookies, but for the kiddos, scoop out the dough by the teaspoon to make itty bitty ones.  Roll in the sugar and don't flatten.

Bake for 8 - 10 minutes.  Let cool completely before storing.  These cookies store well at room temperature for a few days, or for about 2 weeks in an airtight container in the freezer.