Very rarely do I come across a cookie that I truly fall in love with – the measure of love being that I could devour an entire 2-dozen batch without tiring of the flavor. This could be somewhat of a tragedy, considering how versatile cookies can be. But it’s not because, for several years now, I’ve been having a love affair with a certain ginger and molasses softie.
This little bite of my personal cookie heaven is spicy (but not too spicy) sweet (but not teeth-numbingly so), chewy on the outer edges yet soft in the middle – the perfect texture for this cookie, really (yes, that’s a jab at YOU Mr. Hard-and-crunchy Overly-snappy Gingersnap!).
Lucky for you, I am not a selfish lover and am willing to share the details of this affair so that you might enjoy one of your own. (N.B. The magically disappearing 2-dozen cookies act is a phenomenon that family and friends have been known to fall victim to when it comes to this particular mouthful of joy.) Also, if you come across this recipe at least a day in advance of when you want to make it, I would highly recommend chopping up some candied ginger and adding it to the cookie dough.
Notes on Substitutions and Baking Time: Orange juice enhances the ginger flavor a little more, but if you don’t have an orange on hand, water will suffice. There isn’t a substitute for molasses that won’t completely change the flavor, but if you don’t like the flavor to begin with, I’ve been told you can use honey or sugar beet syrup instead. The baking time I used should be viewed more as a guideline than a rule – if you want cookies that are supremely soft (i.e., no chewy edges whatsoever), bake them for a shorter period, or bake them longer if you want chewier overall texture.
Soft Ginger Molasses Cookies (adapted from something somewhere a long time ago)
Makes 24 cookies
2¼ c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. salt
¾ c. butter, softened
1 c. white sugar
1 Tbsp. orange juice or water
¼ c. molasses
2 Tbsp. white sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the orange juice (or water) and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture.
Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.