Holidays equal platters and tins of festive-looking cookies. Cookies with colored icing, cookies with sprinkles, cookies with fillings, cookies with layers.
An artistic cookie display is a thing of beauty, but let's reach past it to grab a flat, modest, quiet molasses cookie. Not much to look at compared to its flashy holiday brethren, but pliant and spice-scented and kind of perfect.
Because the butter is melted in this recipe, you can just as easily mix them up with a spoon or a rubber spatula as an electric mixer. And also go for dark brown sugar, which contains more molasses.
Don't overbake these cookies — unless you want crispy molasses cookies — then go right ahead and add another couple of minutes.
They will keep for three or four days in an airtight container. And they are good contenders for shipping; separate layers with wax or parchment paper, place additional crumbled paper in the bottom and top of the container to fill it, and make sure the container is well-padded before putting it in a box and sending it off to a lucky recipient.
Chewy Molasses Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus another 1/2 cup for rolling
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 large egg
In a medium-size bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, cloves and salt.
In another large bowl, combine the butter, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar and molasses. Beat in the egg. Beat in the dry ingredients; the dough should be fairly stiff. Refrigerate the dough for about 2 hours.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Scoop the dough up by heaping tablespoons and roll them into balls. Roll the balls in the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar and place them 2 inches apart on a baking sheet (about 12 cookies per baking sheet). Using the bottom of a glass, flatten the cookies to about 1/4-inch thick, 2 1/2 inches in diameter.
Bake for 7 or 8 minutes just until set. Remove the cookies from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
Makes 24 cookies. Start to finish: 2 hours, including 2 hours refrigeration time.