When I bite into a cookie, I need three things to happen:
1. The cookie must be chewy.
2. It must have a pronounced, close-your-eyes-and-please-God-make-this-moment-last flavor, most preferably of butter, sugar, or chocolate. Perfection if all three flavors are present.
3. My plate must contain two more just like it.
These molasses cookies are among my top five favorite cookies. My mother has made them since I was the littlest Betty Boop doll, with my round face, pursed lips, black ringlets, and…seductive red dress? That can’t be right.
We’ll just say she’s been making them since I was a babe. And since that’s just a hair over a quarter century, they feel as much a part of my history as scrunchies. Speaking of, tell me how you’re holding your hair back these days.
I’d always known how lovely two dozen molasses cookies could be. How ginger and cloves and cinnamon and molasses could fuse and set fire to my taste buds. How softly set their centers, so sublimely chewy and seemingly underbaked. How big, round, and flat as pancakes they sat, on a rack just to the left of the oven. How relaxed three of them could be, sliding straight from hand to mouth to belly with one glass of milk’s help.
I thought it was all spicy cookies that set my world on fire.
It was not.
In the past two years or so, I’ve baked a batch of five different molasses cookie recipes, hoping, or praying rather, that I’d find one just slightly better than the one I’d smelled in the kitchen every November of my life. Cooks Illustrated, Martha Stewart, every recipe that boasts it’s theee very best…I was just shy of thumbing through the Easy Bake Oven cookbook for a spice cookie, before surrendering to The Silver Palate.
It is still the best recipe I’ve tasted. Uniquely thin, ultra-chewy, and positively popping with gingery molasses flavor, these are the cookies of my girlhood, and they’ll be the ones I make until I’m…well…not in my girlhood.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Melt one and a half sticks of unsalted butter in a large bowl. Add sugar, then molasses, and mix thoroughly.
Lightly beat one egg and add it to the mixture, stirring well to blend well.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and drop dough evenly into 24 mounds, leaving three inches between each because they spread quite a bit while baking.
Bake for about 8-10 minutes, until the edges have begun to set but the centers still look moist and soft. Do not overbake. The cookies will be very large and flat. Let them sit on the baking sheet for 1 minute before transferring to cool completely on a wire rack.
(recipe from The Silver Palate)
(makes 24 large, very flat cookies)
12 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup molasses
1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, melt the butter. Add sugar, followed by the molasses, and mix well. Beat the egg in a small bowl and add it to the sugar-butter-molasses mixture, stirring well to combine.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Add to wet mixture and stir until just combined. The batter will be sticky and wet.
4. Drop 24 even heaping tablespoons of batter on the prepared baking sheets, leaving three inches between each cookie because the cookies spread quite a bit while baking.
5. Bake about 8-10 mins, or until the edges begin to darken and set, but the center still seems soft and moist. Remove from oven while still soft. Carefully move the parchment paper (with cookies on top) to a wire rack and let the cookies cool completely.