Thursday, December 9, 2010


Welcome to another installment of what is rapidly becoming "Girl Scholar's recipe blog." Today: Ginger-Molasses cookies! This is a pretty standard recipe, I think, adapted from one of my mom's. Let us count its virtues (besides yumminess):
  1. It has only a few ingredients, most of which you may already have on hand
  2. It takes only 45 minutes to whip up a batch (the recipe below makes about 3 dozen), start to finish
  3. Because the molasses provides so much moisture, you need very little butter. This will allow you to convince yourself that the cookies are healthy.
  4. The recipe can be made vegan-friendly by using soy milk (I like vanilla-flavored), margarine, and whatever egg substitute you like.
  5. The cookies are soft, with lovely winter spices. It's basically gingerbread in cookie form.
Convinced? Of course you are. so let's get going.

fig. 1: Internet-supplied cookie photo; actual cookies
did not sit still long enough to be photographed

A few hours before you start, you should set out half a stick of butter to soften at room temperature. New to baking? Then don't make the rookie mistake of rushing things by melting the butter. This won't turn out well. If you get a spur-of-the-moment craving for these cookies and happen to have a gas oven, you can put the butter in a dish in the oven with the heat off, occasionally flipping the thing over. The ambient heat in the oven will soften it in about 20 minutes.

Right. So once your butter is soft (but should be holding its shape until you prod it), heat the oven to 350, and get started:
  1. Cream together the half-stick (1/4 cup) of butter with 3/4 cup white sugar until smooth. (I use a food processor, but you can use a mixer, a whisk [takes a mite longer], or even a Swift Whip!).
  2. If you've used a mixer or food processor, then transfer the butter/sugar mix to a large bowl and add 1 egg, 1/4 c. of warmed milk (30 second in the microwave oughta do ya'), 1/2 c. of molasses, 1-2 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger, and 1 t. mixed pie spices (usually marked as “pumpkin pie spice”, but a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice, etc. will work fine). Stir it up good.
  3. Now add the dry ingredients: 1/8 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. baking soda, and 2 c. flour, and mix well. I usually add the flour a bit at a time so it all gets well blended. You may find you want to add a bit more flour at this point, depending on the dough's consistency: by the end, you want a dough that's not going to be as stiff or completely hold its shape like a chocolate-chip cookie dough, but that isn't so thin that it splooshes into a puddle when you drop it by rounded teaspoonsful onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.
  4. In fact, do that now, and pop it into the oven for 9 minutes. Remove, and pop in the next one. Let the finished cookies cool for 1 minute, then transfer them by spatula onto a cooling rack and get the next one going.
  5. Once the cookies are mostly cool, you can dust them lightly with powdered sugar if you like, or make a sugar glaze, or decorate them to resemble the faces of your favorite gender theorists, or just eat them plain.

So. Very. Tasty.


Good Enough Woman said...

Oh my. They look just like the Trader Joe's Molasses Chews that I love so much. Thank you for this!

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Just to be clear: the cookies in the photo are not my cookies. I just needed an illustration; for all I know, the pictured cookies are from Trader Joe's. The ones I make tend to be a bit flatter. Adding more flour (maybe 2 1/4 c. rather than just 2?) to make a stiffer dough might bulk them up a bit, but I'm not sure how you'd need to adjust the cooking time. If you experiment with this, check back in to let us know how they turned out?

Anonymous said...

Do Want.

Historiann said...

Thanks for the link, Notorious. Can this dough be rolled out and cut to make gingerbread women? Or is it really only suitable as a drop cookie?

a. b. said...

If you use blackstrap molasses, you can even say these are a great source of iron without lying.

Comrade PhysioProf said...

I'm not trying to be mean or anything, but for the love of fucken god, you can't post pictures of some fucken nasty-asse food you found on the Internet in a recipe post instead of pictures of the actual fucken food that you cooked. This is like an Inviolable Law of the Internet.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Comrade, I would have photographed my own cookies, but they were gobbled up far too quickly. I'm just that good.

Anthea said...

Regardless of the fact that the cookies in the photo are from Trader Joe's..the ones in the recipe sound scrumptious! Of course you ate them all before getting around to photographing them!