This is my best, favorite, tried and true Christmas cookie recipe. It's originally from America's Test Kitchen but was passed on to me by my friend Eileen. If you want a great cookie for the holiday season, make these!
- I often make the dough a few hours or the night before and refrigerate it so it doesn’t stick to my hands when forming the balls. An alternative would be to moisten your hands occasionally with cold tap water when shaping the balls to prevent sticking.
- For stronger flavor, use dark molasses.
- If you want, you can skip the orange zest part but I like the flavor of it. My friend Amber uses colored decorating sugar (red & green) to make these look more Christmasy.
- A double batch will fit in the bowl of a Kitchen-Aid stand mixer.
Molasses Spice Cookies (2 dozen)
from America's Test Kitchen
1/3 c. granulated sugar, plus ½ cup for dipping
1-2 tsp. orange zest
2 ¼ cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp finely ground black pepper
¼ tsp salt
12 T. (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 c. packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup light or dark molasses
- Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine ½ cup sugar and orange zest in a food processor. Place sugar/orange mixture in a pie pan for dipping.
- Whisk flour, baking soda, spices, and salt in medium bowl until thoroughly combined; set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter with brown sugar and remaining 1/3 cup sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low nad add yolk and vanilla. Increase speed to medium and beat until incorporated, about 20 seconds. Reduce speed to medium-low and add molasses; beat until fully incorporated, about 20 seconds, scraping bottom and sides of bowl once with rubber spatula. Reduce speed to lowest setting; add flour mixture and beat until just incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping bowl down once. Give dough a final stir by hand to ensure that no pockets of flour remain at bottom. Dough will be soft.
- Using a tablespoon measure, scoop heaping tablespoon of dough and roll it between your palms into a ball. Drop ball into pie pan with sugar and repeat to form about 4 balls. Toss balls in sugar to coat and set on prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are browned, still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between the cracks and seem underdone), about 11 minutes. Do NOT overbake.
- Cool cookies on baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack. Cool cookies to room temperature.