These cookies are phenomenal, a claim I can make without arrogance because the recipe was originally from the King Arthur Flour company, which does exhaustive recipe testing, and whose proportions are always correct. My tweaked version is the result of many, many batches over the past few years, during which time I was a pastry chef, so I have cookie cred and you should believe me: these will make your house smell like your grandma's at Christmas, or IKEA.
These have a soft, slightly chewy inner texture with a shiny sugared crust. The molasses keeps them moist, so they keep longer than you'd think, freeze well, and travel like a dream - they are my #1 will-survive-the-postal-system baked good. Also a great and unusual treat for people who don't like chocolate (wtf).
- 1 cup (8 oz / 225g) butter, salted or unsalted, room temperature
- 1 cup (7 oz / 200g) white granulated sugar
- 0.5 cup (6 oz / 170g) molasses OR 1/4 cup (3 oz / 85g) molasses + 1/4 cup (3 oz / 85g) ginger syrup (see note below)
- about 3.5 cups (15.5 oz / 430g) all-purpose flour
- 2.5 teaspoons (21g) baking soda
- 1.5 teaspoon (10g) salt
- 2 teaspoons (14g) ground cinnamon
- 1.5 teaspoon (10g) ground cloves
- 0.5 teaspoon (4g) ground ginger
- 0.25 teaspoon (2g) ground nutmeg
- (note: tweak salt and spices to your liking. this is a good starting point, but taste as you go, and add what you like.)
- 2 large eggs
- about 0.5 cup (3.5 oz / 100g) extra sugar, for coating (granulated, either white or brown; Sugar in the Raw works great)
Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C). Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper (preferred), or lightly grease or spray them with a bit of oil.
Combine all dry ingredients, mix well, and set to the side.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the molasses (and ginger syrup, if using); mix until homogenous.
Add the eggs. Beat well, scraping down the sides several times. Homogenous!
Mix in the flour. You may need more than called for - this recipe is very affected by humidity and the amount of flour is different every time I make them. Add a quarter-cup at a time until it quits being so sticky. Because you'll need to be able to:
Scoop up the dough by tablespoonfuls, ish, and roll between your hands to make perfectly round, or just drop it directly into a shallow dish of sugar. Do several at a time and shake the dish around to coat. (This step is optional but does create a nice exterior.)
Place on the cookie sheet, about a cookie's width apart. Bake for about 10 minutes until the centers look soft and puffy.
It's a little hard to tell if a brown cookie is done baking. I find it useful to go by their bottoms rather than their tops; bottoms should look truly browned when done.
If they're too bendy to lift, let them sit on the pan for a minute before transferring to a wire rack.
Sometimes these turn out tall and puffy, other times much flatter. I can only assume they're more responsive than most cookies to the freshness of the leavening, and/or the varying amount of flour can throw things off a bit. When I want to make sure they're tall, I throw in an extra half-teaspoon of baking soda.
I've never used the ginger syrup, not being that keen on ginger. If that sounds good to you, cklequ has a great writeup on how to make crystallized ginger, including the syrup. You could also incorporate chopped crystallized ginger itself into the cookies.
If you're crazy about cinnamon, add some to the sugar coating.
I forget how many one recipe makes - maybe around 4 dozen? Since they keep so well, I always double it, end up with a crapload, and am not sorry.
If you make these, I'd love to hear how they turn out.
original recipe here.