Crisp Molasses Cookies
Welcome to day 4 in my annual cookie palooza! I’ve been having a ton of fun this week and while I have a difficult time choosing favorites (oh hi, have we met?) I can truthfully say today’s cookies take the gold medal so far.
Molasses cookies are the best variety. I grew up on several things: fish sticks, five alive (does anyone else remember this drink??), cool ranch doritos, and my mom’s gingersnap cookies. While my tastebuds have certainly changed, my immense love for gingersnappy/molasses cookies remains untouched. Same with fish sticks, five alive, and cool ranch doritos. Much love.
Molasses cookies are an enormous part of my childhood. My mom and I baked her soft gingersnaps together nearly each December. I published her recipe in my book! (Have you tried?) And in the past few years, we’ve gone from soft-baked and butterscotch topped to gingerbread men shapes and caramel drizzled. It seems like we’ve done it all in the molasses cookie world.
But my my my, we are so very mistaken. We’ve never ventured over to the other side. You know, the crunchy side. The under appreciated, mega traditional CRISP molasses cookies. Edges so crunchy they put our cool ranch doritos to shame. They snap when you break them in half, a drastic change from yesterday’s “slow bend” oatmeal cookies.
But they’re not only snappy in texture. They’ve got some SUPER snappy flavor too! (I keep laughing when I type snappy.) Deeply spiced, a big ol’ nod to my dark gingerbread loaf. We’re talking lots of ground cloves and cinnamon, with a dose of ginger and lots of dark molasses. These cookies are exactly what I associate with Christmas and a tall glass of cold milk.
What makes them crisp?
A couple things. Today we’ll use all granulated sugar in our cookie dough. Granulated sugar helps encourage spread and also creates a crispier cookie. Think about it– there’s no moisture in granulated sugar. Meaning there’s not much softness, no tenderness, etc. Much unlike brown sugar, which creates our soft-baked cookies! We also bake the cookies for about 13 minutes; adding a couple extra minutes to cookie’s bake time produces a crisper edge.
We’re also adding a liquid– molasses– to the picture. This weighs down the cookie dough so your cookies not only have that beautiful molasses flavor, but also come out a little thinner. Thinner cookies tend to be more crispy.
Also: try rolling them in a coarser sugar. I used half sugar in the raw and half regular granulated sugar for rolling. I liked the larger granules with the more fine granules. The combination made pretty cookies!
Oh! And the cookies get even crispier by the next day, so these are a wonderful make-ahead option for all your holiday baking. YES.
Today’s crisp molasses cookies are fun to watch baking and cooling. They puff up in the oven, gently crack at the top, then slightly fall leaving valleys of crinkles. So much character, you snappy brown beauties!
It’s taken me a few years to come around to crisp-edge cookies; soft-baked have been my mainstay. But, actually, I’ve been working on some crisp-edge cookies for my next cookbook because I know so many of you love them. That’s actually what inspired me to test out today’s recipe and I couldn’t be more satisfied. 🙂
Now let’s slap some vanilla ice cream between two of these and call it a holly jolly day.
Crisp Molasses Cookies
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (60ml) unsulphured or dark molasses1
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- for rolling: 2/3 cup granulated or coarse sugar2
- Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and salt together. Set aside.
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and beat the two together until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the molasses, egg, and vanilla and beat on high until completely combined, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. Cover and chill the dough for 1 hour in the refrigerator (and up to 2-3 days). If chilling for longer than a few hours, allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before rolling and baking because the dough will be quite hard and the cookies may not spread.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
- Roll balls of dough (about 1 scant Tablespoon of dough per cookie) into the granulated/coarse sugar. Place each ball 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 13 minutes or until cracked on the top.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make ahead tip: Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Allow to come to room temperature then continue with step 4. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Unbaked cookie dough balls (not rolled in sugar) freeze well for up to 3 months. Roll frozen dough balls in the sugar and bake for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Click here for my tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough.
- A couple brands I favor: Grandma’s Robust Molasses, Grandma’s Unsulphured Molasses, or Wholesome!’s Organic Molasses (this stuff is potent and delicious! It’s what I used in these pictured cookies.)
- I used 1/3 cup of granulated sugar and 1/3 cup of a coarse sugar, like sugar in the raw, for rolling. I liked the larger granules on these cookies! You can roll in ALL granulated sugar or ALL coarse sugar. Whichever you'd like.
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