Molasses Cookies: A Study (Part 1)
As a 2010 Holiday Special, I’m going to be doing a study of various cookies and cookie recipes. This study has come about in part because of these particular molasses cookies and the fact that, while they are delicious, they did not come out exactly the way I wanted them to. So I’m going to fix them, and I’m going to tell you all about it.
* 3/4 cup melted butter
* 1 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup molasses
* 1 egg
* 2 cups flour
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon each of ground cloves, ginger and salt
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* Extra sugar for rolling
1. Combine butter, sugar, molasses and egg in large mixing bowl
2. Combine flour, baking soda and spices in medium bowl
3. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir until well combined
4. Put in refrigerator until dough has hardened.
5. Scoop out dough (I find an ice cream scoop works well for this) and roll into 1 inch balls
6. Roll balls in sugar and place on cookie sheet, well-spaced apart
7. Press down slightly on cookie dough with the bottom of a glass or jar
8. Bake for 8-10 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Cool on rack.
Now, let’s get one thing straight. These are amazing cookies. They taste phenomenal, and the dough is probably one of the best things ever. On top of that, they are incredibly easy. No, really. Two bowls (Heavens!), a whisk, a fork, a cookie scoop (or a spoon if you’re not feeling gadgety) a baking sheet, and 15 minutes.
But I’ll tell you, I expected from the start that these would be thin, almost gingersnappy cookies. And that’s not what I wanted. I like thick, fat, soft and chewy cookies. So I was probably doomed from the very beginning. But I’m very determined, so I made them anyway, only I didn’t flatten the dough balls before baking hoping that would help them stay fluffy.
It didn’t. They puff up, alright – when they come out of the oven they’re about 3/4″ high. But you can’t even thinking about touching them because you can see that they’re actively deflating with every passing second. By about the end of the first minute, they’ve become 1/8″ high biscuit style cookies. Flat flat flat. Flat and delicious, especially before they’ve had time to actually cool, but still very very flat. And once they’ve cooled, they get fairly crisp because they are so thin, and there goes my chewy cookie.
I tried a second rendition with the second pan of cookies. I froze the dough first, hoping that colder dough wouldn’t lose its consistency quite as much. Total failure. They came out just as flat, and worse, this time I overcooked them slightly, so they were very crisp instead of only slightly crisp.
The third pan’s worth of cookie dough became lunch this weekend, instead of cookies, since I’d given up on achieving the perfect results without actually changing something in the dough. But I do have a plan. A theory, if you will. It is my current hypothesis that if I soften the butter instead of melting it, I’ll end up with the same amazing flavor but more texture. Since butter can never really reconstitute itself after its been melted, I’m guessing that’s the root (and hopefully the entirety) of the problem. So Part 2 of this Molasses Study will be this recipe with that one, minor tweak. And then we’ll move on to other recipes entirely, just for fun and cookie extravagance.
I don’t know about you, but I’m excited.