Published January 1, 2002.
Dry, tasteless molasses cookies belong on a Christmas tree, not in a cookie jar. We made more than 50 batches to find the best recipe for an uncommonly soft, chewy cookie with warm, tingling spices.
Molasses spice cookies are often miserable specimens, no more than flat, tasteless cardboard rounds of gingerbread. They can be dry and cakey without the requisite chew; others are timidly flavored with molasses and are either recklessly or vacantly spiced.
On the outside, a molasses cookie's cracks and crinkles gives it a humble, charming countenance. Inside, an uncommonly moist, soft yet chewy, tooth-sinking texture is half the appeal; the other is a warm, tingling spiciness paired with the dark, bittersweet flavor of molasses. We wanted to create the ultimate molasses spice cookie-chewy and gently spiced with deep, dark molasses flavor.
Start with all-purpose flour and butter rather than shortening for full, rich flavor. Use the right amount of molasses and brown sugar, and flavor with vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, and small amounts of cloves and allspice. Take the cookies out of the oven when they look underdone; residual heat will finish the baking and maintain chewiness.list of recipes