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.