I woke up craving molasses and spices. I tried sprinkling cinnamon on my oatmeal, but that didn’t help. I wanted chewy molasses spice cookies and Earl Grey tea.
I’ve learned to listen to cravings. For instance, if I’m craving chocolate, I eat the best g.d. chocolate I can find. The years have taught me that if I’m craving Callebaut and I try to distract myself with say, a skim-milk-and-stevia-sweetened hot cocoa, I will then search the house until I find the Kozy Shack pudding in the fridge and eat it, then Gelato in the freezer, and so on, until hours later, I finally will eat the chocolate I wanted in the first place.
And I’ve never understood those well-meaning ‘healthy snack substitutions’: cherry tomatoes instead of potato chips, greek yogurt in place of mayo on your sandwiches.
But I’m definitely in favour of healthy improvements to the old favourites, like replacing all purpose white flour with spelt flour. In the case of these cookies, I think the spelt flour tastes better than the all-purpose.
This recipe is based on the Molasses Spice Cookies from The New Best Recipe by America’s Test Kitchen.
ATK recommends using a lower-protein flour like Gold Medal or Pillsbury for more tender cookies. I haven’t seen either of those flours in Canada and Canadian wheats/flours are very high in protein, so I made a mix of spelt flour and low-protein cake flour.
ATK also recommends using both dark brown sugar (for extra molasses flavour) and white sugar so the cookies spread properly. At Christmas time I made these cookies using all dark brown sugar and they turned into unattractive dark brown lumps that did not spread at all. Somehow they still got eaten, with a lot of lip smacking.
I roll these in turbinado sugar because we like the extra crunch, but any kind of sugar works. I’ve also used Sucanat (natural cane sugar) and it’s not as sparkly, but it tastes good.
These cookies are crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle. I’ve been told by people who don’t even like Molasses Cookies that they like these cookies. They’re my son’s favourite too and if you’re craving molasses and spices, you’ll love them. They even go with a Kozy Shack pudding.
- 7 ounces (1½ cups) spelt flour
- 4.25 ounces (3/4 cup) cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
- 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 ounces (12 tablespoons, 1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
- ⅓ cup (2⅓ ounces) packed dark brown sugar
- ⅓ cup (2⅓ ounces) granulated sugar
- ½ cup turbinado sugar for rolling, or other sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup molasses
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Stir together the flour, baking soda, spices, pepper and salt in a medium bowl.
- Beat the butter together with the sugars until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the yolk and the vanilla and beat slowly until well-combined.
- Add the molasses and beat slowly until fully combined. You may have to scrape the bowl.
- Add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Give it a final stir with a spoon to be sure everything on the bottom of the bowl has been mixed in.
- Place the turbinado sugar for rolling on a plate or shallow bowl.
- I then scoop the dough into cookies by weighing each and I like each cookie to weigh 38 grams (1.35 ounces). But I am, obviously, a kook. You can just scoop a heaping tablespoon, shape it into a ball and then roll it in the sugar.
- Space them about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. I put 8 cookies on each sheet.
- Bake about 11 minutes - the cookies will be browned, but still puffy. The edges will have set but the centres will be soft. The cookies will still look raw between the cracks.
- Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack.