I like a cookie I can eat for breakfast. I mean, I can eat a cookie just about anytime during the day, but a rich, chocolate cookie with coffee in the morning leaves me a feeling a little overly indulgent. But a soft, moist, fat, and fluffy molasses cookie? You can make a solid argument that breakfast is the best time to enjoy it. And after making this simple and foolproof recipe with just a handful of ingredients from the pantry, that is just what I did.
With the trumpeting of all the ancient foods in the last ten years, somehow molasses was left behind. Agave nectar had better PR. With references as far back as India in 600 BC, molasses has long been a pantry staple.
Here is America, and especially New England, it has played a big role in history. There was the Molasses Act of 1733, which helped push us closer to revolution. Plus the super bizarre, and deadly, Boston Molasses flood in January of 1919.
At the turn of the last century, it was in just about everything: baked beans, pudding, bread, pies, cakes. There’s a reason you’ll find a molasses cookie recipe in just about every New England cookbook even today.
You’ll also find that just about everyone has an opinion: hard or soft.
I’m on team soft. I’ll take a soft, moist, slightly undercooked, but still flavorful molasses cookie over a hard, spicier gingersnap any day.
This is my favorite foolproof recipe. Made with just a handful of staple ingredients as long as you watch the cooking time you can make them smaller or larger and still get that rich, chewy sweet center.
First, as with most cookies, cream the butter and sugar together until pale yellow, soft and fluffy. About three minutes or so.
Better yet, get a little helper to do it for you!
Here’s a quick tip if you ever need to measure sticky things (think molasses, peanut butter, or honey) by volume. Lightly spray the inside of a dry measuring cup with vegetable oil and your ingredients should slide out easily.
Add in the egg and molasses and beat until thoroughly combined. Don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk the dry ingredients.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. You might need to use some elbow grease, but a thick dough should form.
Refrigerate the dough for an hour or two. The colder dough will not spread as much in the oven and give you a thicker cookie.
Remove the dough and form 1-2 inch balls (roughly 2 tablespoons of dough is what I like). Roll the balls in some sugar (I like turbinado, but regular granular works fine, too).
Bake for 12 minutes at 350F. The cookies will look underbaked, but don’t hesitate to remove them. Slide parchment and cookies onto a rack. The moist centers will harden as they cool.
- 12 T of softened (but still firm) butter
- 1 c. granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/4 c. molasses
- 2 1/4 c. AP flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- sugar for rolling
- Beat the butter and sugar until creamy and smooth
- Add the egg and molasses and beat until incorporated
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the spices and dry ingredients
- Add dry ingredients in thirds to the butter mixture mixing until a stiff dough forms
- Refrigerate the dough for 1-2 hours
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Scoop the dough into 1-2 inch balls (depending on your preference)
- Roll in sugar and place on pan 2-3 inches apart. Cookies won't spread too much with the chilled dough.
- Bake for 12 minutes (time will vary depending on the size of the cookie) rotating sheet halfway through baking time
- Err on the shorter baking time. Cookies will appear underbaked and moist when removed but will harden as they cool.