Sunday, April 25, 2010

Molasses Cookies: Sugar or Chocolate on Top?

Love cookies fresh from the oven but don't have time to cook dinner and bake? Try prepping the dough beforehand and then throw it in the fridge. Toss them in the oven while you're having dinner and voilà! Soft, chewy, warm cookies ready for dessert nibbles when you are.

I felt like making something rich with spices and that was relatively quick to prep, something that would satiate my sweet tooth without being overpowering or too heavy. My first thought was something with cinnamon, but that wasn't quite right. Then I remembered I still had a full bottle of molasses from making croissants when it hit me: molasses cookies. Oh, molasses cookies. Soft and chewy and full of flavor, they were the perfect fit.

I decided to work with this molasses cookies recipe from I cut it in half, but it still gave me about 25 cookies (the original recipe yields 30).

Molasses Cookies
 Originally submitted by Brenda Hall to and loosely interpreted by me

Yields approximately 25 cookies

 6 T  butter, melted
1/2 C  white sugar
1  egg
2 T  molasses
1 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp  baking soda
1/4 tsp  salt
1/2 tsp  cinnamon
1/4 tsp  mixed spice (cassia, coriander, caraway, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger)
1/4 tsp  ginger
1/4 C  white sugar (for rolling)
1/4 C  dark chocolate, chopped to about chocolate chip size

 1 inch balls of molasses cookie dough rolled in chopped dark chocolate (foreground and right) and white sugar (background and left).
  1.  In a medium bowl, mix butter, sugar, and egg well.
  2. Mix in molasses and set aside.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and spices.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet mix and stir until combined.
  5. Cover and refrigerate 1+ hours.
  6. Remove from fridge and preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C).
  7. Roll chilled dough into 1 inch balls, dip in sugar or chocolate, and place 2 inches apart (plain side down) on a cookie sheet.
  8. Bake 8-10 minutes or until the sugar has begun to melt together and crack.
  9. Cool on racks.
  10. Enjoy!
Molasses Cookies Reflections

These weren't as thick as I had hoped. I like a tall and chewy molasses cookie. Cookies with shortening tend to hold their shape a bit better but I do enjoy the way butter tastes. I think using half butter and half shortening would yield a thicker yet still flavorful cookie in the future. The Baking and Baking Science website also suggests that using a finer grain of sugar would stabilize the cookies further. I'd use caution with casually replacing write crystallized sugar with powdered sugar cup-for-cup; powdered sugar packs denser than crystallized sugar, which would sway the cookie to be sweeter. Try either measuring out your crystallized sugar and then powdering it yourself in a blender, coffee grinder, or food processor (tips and instructions here) or weigh out your crystallized sugar and then weigh out the same mass of powdered sugar.

I've noticed this before with sugar-dipped cookies; sometimes the sugar is, surprisingly, not sweet enough. I think I'd like this with a simple powdered sugar and milk icing (slightly heaped 1/2 C powdered sugar to 1 T milk) or a nice cream cheese frosting.

As for chocolate, I had wanted to dip them halfway and let it set, but I really couldn't be bothered after dinner. I think it's a nice cookie with bits of dark chocolate on top, but it would looks much nicer with a quick dip in a vat of the melted stuff and the proportion of cookie to chocolate would be lovely.

So what is it; sugar or chocolate on top? I vote no crystallized sugar on top and find the options of icing, cream cheese frosting, and chocolate-dipped equally delightful. If you get around to trying these variations, let me know what you think!


  1. The molasses-ginger cookies that Will's family makes are really good: The recipe does call for 1/4 C shortening to 1/2 C butter, so you could try that ratio in your cookies.
    I like rolling the cookies in coarse-grained decorating sugar because they look cuter, but Will likes them rolled in regular sugar because more sugar sticks so they're sweeter.

  2. Also, a way to marry the gingersnap and chocolate together is with this recipe from smitten kitchen that I haven't tried, but might now that I have a tart pan -

  3. So many recipes, so little time. I just got a tart pan earlier this week - it must be fate. I also had a dream where the woman from Smitten Kitchen asked me what I want to do, and I woke up saying, "I want to bake. I want to be a pastry chef." I don't put too much stock in my dreams, but that one was pretty encouraging.

    X M