I’ve been battling off a nasty summer cold (which I’m beginning to suspect may even be the flu) since Saturday morning, with little luck. This one’s a fighter. Cough drops, tissues, and Nyquil are my new best friends. Anyway, I’ve been wanting to come say hi and share a little baking, but I’ve pretty much been asleep during all the hours I’m not at work. (Actually. I slept from 7pm to 7am last night. Unheard of.) I’m feeling marginally better tonight, though, and I’ve really been craving a little time in the kitchen, so I made some soft, chewy molasses cookies to have with my 800th cup of tea today.
I thought a lot about gingery molasses-based cookies tonight, while making these. I suppose that tends to happen when you spend an hour thinking about nothing but baking while running on 50% brain power – you can get very deeply invested in a very particular topic. It’s just, there’s several very distinct types of ginger cookies, and they fit on a spectrum. On the one end, you have ginger snaps. Ginger snaps are small, thin, hard, and very spicy, and, in my mind at least, are for eating in the summer, with a cold glass of milk for dunking. Molasses chews are an entirely different beast. They should be large, soft, chewy, mildly spiced, and preferably a little underdone in the very center. They’re a wintery, rainy-day sort of cookie, best with a cup of coffee or a chai. Then you have your typical “gingerbread man,” which is a little cakey with a harder outside, and doesn’t crack on the top. And beyond that, there’s a whole range of in-between cookies. And when you order a ginger-molasses cookie at a cafe, you never quite know which kind you’re going to get, do you?
Now, I tend not to discriminate too much when it comes to eating cookies, but if you made me decide, I would have to say that molasses chews – the extra-big, extra-chewy kind – are my ginger cookie of choice. Like the ones they used to have at Starbucks that were half an inch thick and as big as your hand. That’s what I was hoping I would get out of this recipe, but they weren’t quite what I was looking for. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still really, really delicious cookies, as vetted by my roommate, they just spread a little too thin and crisped a little too much to be “true” molasses chews. If, on the scale of ginger cookies, gingersnaps were a 1, gingerbread men were a 5, and molasses chews were a 10… these would probably be an 8. So I’ll take them. (Just fyi, I briefly tried to make a graphic of a ginger-cookie scale. I don’t have a mouse on my computer, so I gave up. But I wanted to. That’s how much I love you. And also how much I’ve learned to think in terms of powerpoint slides from my job.)
To recap: These are very good cookies, you should try them. But if you have a recipe for really soft, really chewy molasses chews, please share it with me. I will love you for it.
Almost Molasses Chews
Adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques. Makes 20 cookies.
- 1 stick butter, melted, then cooled to almost room temperature (or 1/2 c. shortening, melted)
- 1 egg
- 1/4 c. molasses
- 1 c. sugar
- 2 c. flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)
- Preheat oven to 325°F
- In a large bowl, cream together the melted-then-cooled butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and the molasses and beat until combined, then beat together vigorously for 1-2 minutes. Mixture should be evenly colored and creamy.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt, and whisk to combine. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir until combined, then add the remaining half of the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir until fully incorporated. Refrigerate dough for 15 minutes.
- Roll dough into balls slightly smaller than a golf ball, and flatten between the palms of your hand. Place on a cookie sheet, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 11-12 minutes, until slightly cracked on top.