Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies

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This recipe (and inaugural blog post!) is part of a #virtualcookieparty2019 collaboration with Cosette’s Kitchen I have linked the recipes below from a TON of super talented bloggers who are also participating.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents, especially before starting Kindergarten. We’d play games, go on long walks on the beach collecting shells, rocks, and sea glass, read, garden, and sometimes we’d bake. I don’t think my gramma had a particular passion for food, but there are a few things she made (or even just always seemed to have around) that I will always and forever consider “hers”. Simple things like; soft boiled eggs with little torn pieces of toast with homemade jam and butter, what I named “gramma rolls” (my mom swore they were store-bought but, back then, I could not be convinced), Christmas morning coffee cake, and these cookies. It’s funny, the things we attach memories to and food memories can so often be some of the strongest. Silly things like Cheerios with fresh raspberries or a little jar of prunes (yes, prunes) are “hers” too. Anytime she was in the kitchen, I’d climb up onto the butcher block to watch and we’d talk.

When she passed a few years back, one of the only things I wanted was her recipe box. She was a very organized lady, so most had been typed out meticulously on a typewriter but, I just knew I’d find a few nuggets in there that were still handwritten. Luckily, that little framed recipe card below was one of them. One of HER recipes. One she had made so many times. It seemed like she always had a tin of them in her freezer.

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A good chewy, properly spicy molasses cookie…it doesn’t get much better. I feel confident calling them my favorite type of cookie. Over the years, as I’ve started developing recipes and playing in the kitchen, I’ve changed up Gramma’s original recipe quite a bit but none of that messing around will ever dull the nostalgia. These are still HER cookies.

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A lot of the fun I have in the kitchen is taking the time to make things from scratch that could easily be store-bought. Mostly as a challenge to continue to advance my own skills. Since I made these as my VERY FIRST blog post and very first Instagram Virtual Cookie Party, I really wanted to include something a little special that added a new element to these cookies.

That thing was Candied (or Crystallized) Ginger (recipe from David Lebovitz)! It was so easy to make and tastes approximately 100% better than anything I’ve purchased. Plus, the store-bought stuff can easily cost $3.50 an ounce for organic! I made a full pound of it (also organic) for about $8. I strained about ¼ of it to toss in sugar for this and other recipes, the rest is in a jar in my fridge still in the syrup.

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Enough blabbing, lets bake! I go pretty heavy on the spice, if it feels too aggressive for your taste, you can easily scale back any of it or omit the ones you don’t have on hand. I know not everyone has a veritable spice store in their kitchen, and that is OK! The only musts are cinnamon and ginger (and arguably the clove), everything else just adds that little something extra. I hope you love them!

Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies

2 cups AP Flour

1 ½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp kosher salt

2 ½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp each, ground ginger & ground cardamom

¼ tsp each, ground clove, ground nutmeg, & ground allspice

¼ cup crystallized (aka candied) ginger, chopped into bits (don’t go crazy, you still want to know they are in the dough)

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1/3 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

½ cup unsulfured molasses

1 tsp vanilla extract

Turbinado sugar (or Demerara sugar) for rolling

Method:

Place oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, & ground spices. Then toss in the chopped crystallized ginger and give it a little stir to coat in the flour. Set aside

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both types of sugar together on medium speed for about 2min. You are looking for it to be just slightly light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl, add the egg and vanilla then beat on medium speed again until just combined. Scrap down the bowl once more and pour in the molasses, beating on medium speed until just combined. Turn the mixer down to low and carefully add in the dry ingredients all at once. Mix just to combine.

Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and use a flexible spatula to give the dough a few manual stirs to ensure all dry ingredients are combined and any other bits are properly mixed in. The dough will be very sticky but not at all runny.

With the dough at room temperature, start scooping it into approximately 30g (or about 2T) size mounds. If using a scale, place a piece of parchment on the scale before you start plopping dough onto it. Use a spoon to scoop the dough (a cookie scoop does not work well here, as the dough is too sticky) and plop it onto the parchment aiming for that 30g mark. We do not need to try to get these mounds rolled into any sort of ball, it’s impossible so don’t make yourself crazy. Instead, carefully pick up the mound and pinch it gently to form a very rough ball shape and plop it right into the bowl of Turbinado sugar. Use your fingers to roll the ball around to fully coat it in sugar then place the ball onto your prepared cookie sheet. About 8 cookies per sheet is the aim. (If you make larger cookies, adjust accordingly to allow space for spreading.)

Bake at 375 for 8 min then pull out the cookie sheet and firmly bang it on your stove top or counter 4-5 times to encourage the cookies to spread out and crack on the tops. Bake for 2 min longer. Pull them out and bang the cookie sheet a couple more times to really drive your point home…we want CRACKLE TOPS. Cool on the cookie sheet for a few min and then transfer to a cooking rack to cool to room temp before storing in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Do ahead: cookie dough can be made and roughly shaped into mounds up to 1 month ahead of time. Freeze on a baking sheet then transfer to a resealable bag and keep frozen until you are ready for them. Let sit at room temperature until dough is room temperature before rolling in sugar and baking as instructed. If you don’t want to wait for them to come to room temp, 30min of thawing time will do, they just wont spread and crack quite as much.

Virtual Cookie Party 2019 Participants: 

Cosette’s Kitchen Tahini Pinwheel Cookies

Kathryn Pauline’s Sesame Blossom Cookies

Candice Walker’s Dark Chocolate Gelt with Matcha Mousse

Tawnie Graham’s (Krolls_Korner) White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies 

¡Hola! Jalapeño Peppermint Mocha Milk Fudge 

Rylee Foer (About to Sprout) Spiced Honey Cardamom Cookies with Orange Glaze 

Gina Fontana (Healthy Little Vittles) Cookie Dough Stuffed Dates

Christine Ma (Cherry on My Sundae) Southern Butter Pecan Skillet Cookie

Alexa Blay’s (Key To My Lime) Gluten Free Vegan Sugar Cookies for Cutouts

Tamara Giebel (The Herbalist & The Carnivore) Chocolate Espresso Dipped Hazelnut Lace Cookies

Ashley Cuoco’s (ashcuoco) Stamped Citrus Shortbread

Mike Johnson’s (MikeBakesNYC) Chocolate Peppermint Macarons

Elizabeth Waterson (ConfessionsOfABakingQueen) Viennese Whirls

Erin Kowal’s (Down to a Simmer) Date Drop Cookies

Lily Morello (lilybubbletea) Holiday Fuel Cookies

Kathleen Culver, The Floured Table Triple Ginger Molasses Cookies

Kimberlee Ho (kickassbaker) White Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream Sandwiches

Cindy Feingold (saltandserenity) Chocolate Dipped Mint sandwich Cookies

Tamara, Tina, Tara (ThreeTeasKitchen)  https://threeteaskitchen.com/lawzena/ 

Jean Choi’s (whatgreatgrandmaate) Cranberry Pistachio Paleo Chocolate Cookies

Tristin Rieken’s (onearmedmama) Gingerbread Crinkle Cookies

Kathryn (wornslapout) Rocky Road Chocolate Bark 

Taylor (allpurposeflourchild) Mulling Spice and Orange Marmalade Thumbprint Cookies

Dana (olivemeetscoconut) Cranberry Orange Halaweh Cookies

KendellKreations Pecan Butter Balls

Kristine Hinterkopf (TheEarnestBaker) Smoked Sea Salt and Bourbon Cowboy Cookies

Anita (cookonawhim) Cranberry and Rosemary Tassies

Casey Colodny (TheMindfulHapa) Paleo Soft Ginger Cookies

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