Saturday, December 14, 2013

Soft Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies (with orange essence)

Okay, remember the brilliant idea I had about the pictures of the cookies in the snow the other day?
Well, these are the cookies I almost got frostbite for.  And you know what? They are worth it.  YUMMY!    They are everything the name says:  soft, chewy, molassesy and spicy. With a slight hint of orange.
You have to like those things.  I mean I get that there are some people out there who  don't love spice and ginger and molasses.  I don't understand why, but I respect the fact that they are  shaking their heads right now, thinking,  um, no thank pepper in MY cookies.

It' s okay.  That means MORE FOR ME!! 

Who the heck doesn't like gingerbread tasting things??? 
It's like the taste of Christmas right in your mouth.

This cookie recipe was in Cook's Illustrated "All-Time Best Holiday Baking 2013".
It gave the option of making these cookies with 'orange essence' which is just some orange zest, but I highly suggest the orange essence, as that's what I did---it just makes your mouth smile.
Another option which I might try later is a  dark rum glaze.  That sounds good too. We like anything with rum.

Below is one of the photo's I took of the cookies in the snow.

Then I thought I should put a red napkin with it.  Trying to make it look striking!  But I was FREEZING  my a-s, errrr,  my rear end off  (it was minus 8, remember?),  so I didn't have time to do justice.  They really could have been good photos. 

Soft & Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies

1/3 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup for rolling
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup molasses, light or dark

Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 375 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 1/2 cup sugar for dipping in a shallow, wide bowl.

Whisk flour, baking soda, spices, and salt in medium bowl until thoroughly combined; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter with brown and granulated sugars at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and add yolk and vanilla; increase speed to medium and beat until incorporated, about 20 seconds. Reduce speed to medium-low and add molasses; beat until fully incorporated, about 20 seconds, scraping bottom and sides of bowl once with rubber spatula. Reduce speed to lowest setting; add flour mixture and beat until just incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping bowl down once. Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no pockets of flour remain at bottom. Dough will be soft.

Using tablespoon measure, scoop heaping tablespoon of dough and roll between palms into 1 1/2-inch ball. Roll ball in sugar to coat and set on prepared baking sheet, spacing cookies about 2 inches apart. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are browned, still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone), about 11 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Do not overbake if you want the cookies to be soft and chewy.

Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes, then use wide metal spatula to transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.

Orange Essence (*** the one I chose to do***)
The orange  zest in the sugar coating causes the sugar to become sticky and take on a light orange hue; the baked cookies have a unique frosty look.
Process 2/3 cup sugar and 2 tsp grated orange zest in food processor until pale orange, about 10 seconds; transfer sugar to shallow dish and set aside. Add 1 tsp grated orange zest to dough along with molasses and substitute orange sugar when coating balls.

Dark Rum Glaze
Whisk 1 cup confectioners sugar and 2 1/2 tbls dark rum  (tad bit more if needed) together in a med bowl until smooth. Drizzle or spread glaze using back of a spoon, on cooled cookies.  Let glazed cookies dry for at least 15 minutes.

Do you have a favorite essence?
I love orange.  


bermudaonion said...

I might even brave snow for those cookies and I hate the snow! They look delicious!

Pretend Chef said...

These cookies look so delicious.

Tina said...

Cooks Illustrated is a wonderful go-to for any cooking or baking. Love them. Cookies are great an I am happy you did not get frostbite!

Karen said...

OMG, these look so good!

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