Happy New Year, kids! Admittedly, this is one of my least favorite holidays. Not because I'm afraid of making resolutions, or because I'm afraid of change or growth or any of those cliched New Year's Eve kinds of declarations. More than anything, I'm disappointed that Christmas is over. To assuage my sadness, I tend to hermit for most of January and find comfort in things like flannel and copious amounts of hot tea.
When I set out to make a pecan pie for New Year's Day dinner at my in-laws, I asked Em to pick up a jar of molasses at the store. I didn't realize I had an unopened jar sitting on my shelf, too. I decided it was time to find a recipe for molasses cookies that I could get behind, and to use up some of this excess molasses. I wanted those crisp-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside, warm-your-guts kind of molasses cookies that you always hope they'll be when you buy them or make them.
What ended up working was a simple recipe from Taste of Home, a magazine my Great Aunt Tootie used to give my mother a subscription to every year. Classics never fail, folks. These cookies were perfect. I left out the suggested pecans, mostly because they didn't make sense, and added a little extra cinnamon and ginger to the dry ingredients. To be honest, I tend to always add more than the suggested amount of spices to my baked goods, especially when they're things like the ones in this recipe. If I had any on hand, I would've chopped up finely a few tablespoons of crystallized ginger and mixed them into these cookies, too. They pair perfectly with my piping hot Irish Breakfast tea, too. Overall, this is a sturdy and reliable recipe that I am more than happy to add to my collection!
Big & Chewy Molasses Cookies
adapted from Taste of Home
1-1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup molasses
4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour**
4 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup coarse sugar
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and molasses.
Whisk/blend the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
Shape into 2-inch balls and roll in coarse sugar. Place 2-1/2-in. apart on ungreased baking sheets; these cookies will spread quite a bit, so don't cram them on the baking sheet.
Bake at 350° for 13-15 minutes or until tops are cracked. Remove to wire racks to cool.
Yield: 2-3 dozen
** As always, I use a 50/50 blend of all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour for my baking, and these turned out perfectly with this flour combination.