Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Molasses Crinkles

If you have time to make only one batch of cookies this year, I would highly recommend that it be these molasses crinkles. Forget chocolate chip and sugar cookies, these cookies are the essence of Christmas. Like eggnog and bourbon balls, these cookies will wrap you in a holiday glow, and the warm spiciness of the cinnamon, cloves, ginger and allspice will make your house feel like the best place on Earth. Add a roaring fire and a fragrant, glowing Christmas tree, and you've got holiday magic.

These chewy, sophisticated cookies are so awesome that the first year Nick brought them to work, people came within a hair of getting in a fistfight over them. The next year, they didn't come to blows, but they resorted to stealing the unattended cookies and hiding them in their desks. That's why I always make at least a double batch these days--I wouldn't want anyone to get hurt.

My coworkers are not quite so dramatic, but when I mention that I've brought in a batch, their eyes light up and they ask, Those cookies from last year? Those are awesome! A lot of us can barely remember yesterday, so for these cookies to be remembered a year later is really saying something.

If that's not enough to convince you to make these, how about the fact that they're fun and easy to make? And, after you've made these once, you'll have the ingredients on hand for future batches. I'm sure you can see why they're a holiday staple in our house.

Molasses Crinkles
(From Epicurious)
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening at room temperature
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses (not robust or blackstrap)
  • About 1/3 cup sanding or granulated sugar* (I used Sugar in the Raw) for tops of cookies

Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, and salt in a bowl until combined.

Beat together shortening, butter, and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a stand mixer (preferably fitted with paddle attachment) or 6 minutes with a handheld. Add egg and molasses, beating until combined. Reduce speed to low, then mix in flour mixture until combined.

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.

Roll 1 heaping teaspoon of dough into a 1-inch ball with wet hands, then dip 1 end of ball in sanding sugar. Make more cookies in same manner, arranging them, sugared side up, 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake cookies for 8 minutes, then cool on sheets 1 minute. The original recipe calls for the cookies to be baked for 10 to 12 minutes, but I found, as did a lot of the reviewers on Epicurious, that 10 minutes is too long. You want to take the cookies out when they still look almost raw--they should just be developing cracks on the surface, and they should not have taken on any color. The edges will have started to set, but the middles will still be puffy and almost wobbly. You have to trust me on this one--if you overcook these cookies, they're still tasty, but they end up being more like gingerbread and that certain something is gone. Don't worry if the cookies don't look as dark as they do in the pictures--they get darker and more crinkly as they cool.

Transfer to racks to cool completely. Make more cookies with remaining dough on cooled baking sheets.




No comments: