Festive, yummy and low-key

Ginger molasses cookies make the perfect holiday treat

It’s December now, and I can totally throw myself into holiday baking mode. Our 4-foot-tall Christmas tree is up, topped with a picture of our dog (a star and an angel). We have a homemade advent calendar we broke in on Tuesday, and orange and clove-scented candles are constantly lit. Christmas is my favorite time of year.

I love baking and I love gifting baked goods. Some of my most recent cooking and baking projects have been a lot, like cakes and homemade ice cream and Thanksgiving sides. I wanted to do something festive, yummy and low-key. Ginger molasses cookies check all of those boxes.

These cookies are similar to the snickerdoodle cookies I made, in that the dough is sort of malleable and needs to be shaped into a ball and rolled in sugar. Like the snickerdoodles, I saved some of the uncooked cookie dough balls, and put them in a plastic bag in the freezer, for whenever a fresh-baked cookie is needed.

The cracked surface of the cookie, along with the crunchy sugar coating, makes a lovely cookie to see and eat. Wrap a few up in a gift bag and drop off with friends and family. With the COVID-19 surge, I think many of us are feeling isolated and in need of some old-fashioned holiday cheer (cookies). These cookies are based on the Bon Appetit recipe for chewy ginger molasses cookies. I used turbinado sugar, which is really thick and crunchy. If you don’t have that, brown sugar or any other kind of sugar you have will work fine.

Ginger molasses cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

1 large egg

½ cup, or one stick of butter, melted

⅓ cup granulated sugar

⅓ cup molasses

¼ cup brown sugar

A shallow bowl of coarse sugar to roll cookie dough in

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients and the sugars to combine: egg, butter, sugar, brown sugar and molasses.

Slowly and gradually add in the dry mixture with the wet mixture, mixing to combine the two with a spoon. Once combined, place the dough in the fridge to cool for about 20 minutes.

Once the dough has cooled, it will be easier to handle — like sandy-textured PlayDoh. Scoop the dough out and roll it into balls. Take each ball of dough and roll it around in the coarse sugar until coated. Place the balls of dough on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, keeping the cookies far enough apart to allow the dough to expand and spread. If wanting to save the dough for later, place the sugar-coated balls of dough into a plastic bag or another container and freeze for up to a month.

Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, the cookies will look puffy and cracked. Let cool completely.

Ginger molasses cookies make for a delicious, chewy way to spread holiday cheer to family and friends isolated during the pandemic, on Nov. 30, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
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