Molasses Spice Cookies

molasses spice cookies (2)These treats are destined for my awesome friend Bryan out in New Mexico, to both celebrate the impending arrival of autumn and to cheer him up since he’s been a bit stressed lately. My natural inclination is to comfort people with baked goods, and the wonders of FedEx, UPS, and overnight service from the post office make this possible even at a great distance.

Some cookies are definitely better candidates for shipping than others. I’ve had the greatest luck shipping cookies that are more sturdy, like drop cookies, rolled cookies (like these), or plain cut-outs that are in basic shapes like circles or squares. Frosted cookies might be tricky because the frosting itself raises the moisture content, which might cause the cookies to begin to disintegrate or go stale quicker. These cookies have a slightly soft texture; they’re not chewy like a chocolate chip but not hard like a gingersnap, so I’m hoping they hold their ground until Bryan can enjoy them.

For the actual shipping, I pack cookies in several layers of waxed paper for cushion in a container that will allow for very little wiggle room, then place the container in a box packed with tissue paper or bubble wrap. Budget-wise, you can usually get a reasonable rate for two-day delivery, so if you’ve baked on a Monday and are mailing on Tuesday, your treats will arrive by Thursday and should be perfectly fine. Because homemade cookies have a shorter shelf life than store-bought, I wouldn’t go beyond two-day delivery.

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar

Preparation

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and pepper; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar.

Add egg and beat until just combined.

Add vanilla and molasses and beat until just combined.

Add flour and beat until just combined. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill 1-2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine raw sugar and orange zest.

Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, scoop out dough and roll into balls, then dip each ball into the raw sugar/zest.

Place on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart and flatten with the tines of a fork like you would a peanut butter cookie.

Bake 10 minutes, until edges are just beginning to brown and centers are set.

Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.

 

Molasses Applesauce Raisin Drops

raisin molasses drops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baked goods often employ interesting ingredients to yield certain textures, and this cookie calls upon applesauce to produce soft, chewy results. Mike requested these some time ago, and they involve many of his preferred ingredients, including raisins, molasses, and cinnamon.

Applesauce is usually used in baking to reduce the fat content in a recipe, but as this one contains a cup of butter, the purpose of applesauce here is more flavor- and texture-based. While cooking the applesauce, raisins, and lemon zest, keep a close eye on the mixture and don’t allow it to go above a simmer and stir it frequently to avoid burning. Be sure to use a very large mixing bowl, as this yields a large quantity of dough.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins
  • 3 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • generous 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, for shaping

Preparation

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine applesauce, raisins, and lemon zest. Cook over medium heat until mixture is thickened and raisins are reconstituted, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently and take care not to let the mixture burn; remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl to cool just slightly.

Add butter, brown sugar, and molasses to raisin mixture and stir until butter melts.

Add egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and stir to combine.

Add flour and stir until evenly incorporated.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least two hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using a two-inch cookie scoop, scoop dough onto prepared sheets, spacing about two to three inches apart.

Grease the bottom of a large drinking glass and dip in sugar, then press to flatten cookies.

Bake for 15 minutes, until edges are slightly darker than centers.

Cool on cookie sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Molasses Cookies

 

 

 

 

 

Mary Janes were among my favorite penny candy, along with Bit O’ Honey and Tootsie Rolls.  The corner store in my neighborhood, which closed in my early teens, had shelves of penny candy and small paper bags that eager children could fill to their heart’s delight.

These cookies are modeled on the Mary Jane, featuring peanut butter, molasses, and dark brown sugar.  While you could certainly use light brown sugar, dark brown sugar has a higher quantity of molasses in it and will yield a richer flavor; you could also use crunchy, rather than smooth, peanut butter for another dimension of texture.

Ingredients

  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
  • 2 eggs
  • About 1 cup unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Preparation

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together dark brown sugar, butter, shortening, peanut butter, and molasses until very well combined and fluffy, about two minutes.

Add eggs and beat well, about two minutes.

Add one-half of the flour mixture and beat until combined.

Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until combined.

Cover and chill dough at least one hour or until firm and easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line several baking sheets with foil and spray very lightly with cooking spray. (Note: I do not re-spray sheets after they have baked, as I find that there is enough residual spray left on the sheets so the cookies do not stick.)

Using a one-inch cookie scoop, scoop very generous portions of dough and roll into balls; dip one-half of each ball in chopped peanuts, pressing lightly to embed the nuts in the dough.

Place on the baking sheet about two inches apart and bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven; cool cookies on the baking sheet on a wire rack for two to three minutes, then remove cookies and cool completely on another rack.