Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Molasses crinkle cookies

This morning I woke up to not just one, but both tell-tale signs to me that the holiday season is here: snow and freshly baked cookies!

Add in that a calendar page has been flipped and we're into December (whoh!) and my apartment is now fully decorated for Christmas... talk about the best day ever!  Waking up to all of this has put an extra jump in my step, though I think have to tone it down around the commuters in the office, who had it a little rougher today  :)  Usually we don't get snow this early, but this is already the second of the season.  The 24 hours and counting of rain has turned to light snow here in western PA.  [jumps up and down]  Yes!

Snow, check!  Cookies... yes, let's talk about cookies.  While I was baking last night and thinking about what to write, I considered beginning with a tangent about holiday baking: how it's this particular time of year that home cooks (myself included) dust off the cookie sheets and stock up on butter and sugar for a solid month of cookie baking.  But, seriously, who am I trying to fool?  Not even the heat of summer can deter me from whipping up a batch of cookies, or two.  So, I'll just say that I bake more often come December and share this recipe so that you can get in the habit of it, too.

It's hard to believe that it's taken me until now to bake these molasses cookies on my own.  I love them.  My family loves them.  We go through milk twice as fast when these perfectly dunkable cookies are around.  My friends will visit on Christmas day to pick up some, and convince my parents that they are stopping to actually catch up with them.  Tsk tsk.  But, as you can assume, my mom has always baked these and never was a reason presented for me to make them as well.  Until this week.

After being home for such a long stretch and doing a little holiday decorating, I started thinking about Christmases when I was younger.  My mom would go on, for lack of a better word, a baking bender for a week or so.  She'd start baking early in the day and stay up until the wee hours of the morning, removing batch after batch of sweet smelling round treats from the oven.  Her meals would consist of tea and a few cookies around each mealtime.  Every flat surface in the kitchen and sometimes the nearby dining room would be covered with cooling racks and stacks of cookies.  My mom wouldn't warn us kids of the impending kitchen miracles; we'd simply discover it when we arrived home from school to walk into the house smelling how we imagined Heaven would.  Hey, we were 24 10.

These cookies get their name from their appearance during and after baking.  The balls of dough rolled in sugar expand and puff and eventually flatten, creating a crinkling effect in the sugary brown cookie.  The result is a beautiful molasses crinkle that is snappy from the first bite to the last.  The list of ingredients may sound eerily similar to that of a gingerbread cookie, but it lacks the subtle heat and intense spice that the latter boasts.  Because of that, kids quickly take a liking to molasses crinkles because of the sweet mild flavor and solid structure that lends itself to dunking in milk.  And adults?  They'll try to distract those same children with other more familiar cookies (i.e. chocolate chip) so the adults can hoard the molasses crinkles for themselves.  Real Scrooges, I tell you :)  Solution?  Double the recipe.

One Year Ago: Cupcake liner garland

Molasses Crinkles
(adapted from my mom!)

-makes 3 1/2 dozen

A few notes: I think this is a great cookie to make with friends.  Have the dough made and chilling, and invite fellow cookie enthusiasts over to roll, sugar, and bake for a fun night at home.  Also, this is a perfect cookie swap or hostess gift cookie, so check back here for your upcoming events!

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled
1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling cookies
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
1 egg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Pour melted butter into the large bowl of an electric mixer.  Add sugar, molasses, and egg; beat well.  With mixer on low speed, add baking soda, spices, and flour to the molasses mixture.  Mix until well combined.  Cover and chill for 1 hour (or up to 24 hours) in refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, two inches apart.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or just until set.  (Cookies will puff up and flatten during baking.)  Cool completely on wire rack.  Store in sealed container for up to one week.

No comments:

Post a Comment