Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Recipe: Big, Soft & Chewy Molasses Ginger Spice Cookies with (or without) Raisins

Big, Soft, and Chewy Molasses Ginger Spice Cookies
An old-fashioned, inexpensive treat that brings back memories—and creates them.

There's no doubt about it—big cookies make people happy. I started baking and selling oversized cookies 25 years ago, and everyone from little kids to big men goes crazy for them.

Bite-sized cookies, like these addicting
Baby Chocolate Chip and Toffee Shortbread Bites, are perfect for serving large crowds or filling holiday goodie boxes, but the rest of the time I always circle back to the big ones.

What's especially nice is when one cookie batter will give you two completely different cookies, just by changing the size. My 2-inch Molasses Ginger Spice Snaps are cute and crunchy, and one batch bakes up 12 dozen cookies that store really well.

But stir in some raisins and portion them out with a large scoop instead, and you get two dozen soft and chewy treats that make me think of ice skating and red mittens and crackling fires and early Christmas morning—and are always greeted with smiles even bigger than they are.

Big and Soft Molasses Spice Cookies 2

Big, Soft & Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies
Makes about two dozen 4-inch cookies

**Click here to print this recipe**

The key to making really good spice cookies is to use the best and freshest spices you can find. If you can't remember when you bought that dusty jar of ground ginger or cloves, it's time to toss it out.

Freshly ground nutmeg is wonderful, and
whole nutmeg will last for years. Plus you get to use a cute little grater to make it.

As always, I urge you to seek out organic and local ingredients; they really do make a difference. Organic flour is very nice to bake with, and organic raisins are one of the best organic buys out there, especially when you consider it takes about 4½ pounds of grapes to make one pound of raisins.

I stock up on organic butter when it goes on sale (often for $2.50 a pound) and freeze it. Look for fresh farm eggs at the farmers' market; you won't believe how
good they taste.  A great way to find local food for sale in your area is to search on LocalHarvest.org.

I highly recommend investing in a couple of heavy duty commercial baking sheets like these. At less than $14 each, they're one of the best kitchen deals around. I've been using some of mine for 20 years for everything from baking scones to roasting Brussels sprouts, not to mention baking thousands of cookies.

Most molasses spice cookie recipes call for forming each cookie into a little ball. I never have the patience for that. It's easy to make perfectly round cookies if you portion out the dough with
a stainless steel scoop. I own five or six different sizes and have had some of them for 20 years, too.

As with most cookies, these freeze beautifully. If desired, you can substitute 2 sticks (1 cup) of the butter with non-hydrogenated vegetable oil sticks, such as Earth Balance.

Ingredients:

1½ cups (3 sticks/12 ounces) organic butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup molasses (not blackstrap) or cane syrup (I use Steen's cane syrup)
4 cups organic all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
2 to 3 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (or 1 teaspoon pre-ground)
1½ cups organic raisins (optional)

Instructions:

Heat the oven to 375°.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer (I use a hand held mixer) on high speed for about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs and molasses until well blended.

Reduce the speed and mix in the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg until well combined. (You can mix the dry ingredients together first in a separate bowl, but I never do.) Stir in the raisins if you're using them.

The dough will be very soft, so put it in the fridge or freezer for a little while to harden up (very cold dough will take a minute or two longer to bake).

Use a 1/4-cup scoop or quarter cup measure to portion out the dough, and place the cookies on a heavy duty baking sheet lined with unbleached parchment paper (this is wonderful stuff, and you can reuse the same piece for the entire batch of cookies). The cookies will spread; six will fit on a half-size commercial sheet pan.

Bake the cookies until the centers are set, about 15 to 18 minutes. For crunchier cookies, bake them a few minutes longer. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container for several days (I love these Lock & Lock containers) or freeze.

More spice cookie recipes from food blogging friends:
Molasses Spice Cookies from Simply Recipes
Chocolate Spice Cookies from The Perfect Pantry

Sweet tooth still not satisfied? Try these other Farmgirl Fare treats:
Cookies and Bars


Muffins and Scones
Cranberry Christmas Scones (tasty any time of year)
100% Whole Grain Bran Muffins (super popular, four different flavors)

Cakes, Tarts, and More

Still hungry? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

© FarmgirlFare.com, the scooped up foodie farm blog where we sometimes eat dessert first—and there are always homemade cookies hiding in the freezer.

13 comments:

  1. These look so good! I used to love ginger, always drinking ginger ale and making gingerbread, until one day my body randomly decided that ginger was my new trigger for migraines (at first it was just raw ginger, but it keeps getting worse until now I can barely smell it). It makes me sad. I'm glad everyone else will be able to enjoy these! I used to make David Lebovitz's fat-free gingersnaps and these look pretty similar only with butter, which can only make them better in my opinion.

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  2. I'm so glad I found your blog. Those cookies sound wonderful and I am in need of a new cookie recipe. Or two. Right now I am giving away a great cookbook. I hope you'll visit and help me celebrate my blogoversary.

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  3. Whenever I see a recipe that specifies "not blackstrap molasses," I always wonder why. Do you know the reason? I have blackstrap molasses in my cupboard but I will get another kind when I make these cookies, because they look absolutely heavenly. I am already imagining eating them with hot tea while sitting in front of a roaring fire in our wood-burning stove. Yum, can't wait!

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  4. What a coincidence! I just bought a new jar of ginger today - these will be baking in my oven later tonight! YUM!

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  5. Oh, boy - those are my kind of cookie! Love monster cookies ( as my kids named them) - all the more to eat with no pussyfooting around sneaking those those tiny cookies. I can vouch for your toffee shortbread mini cookies, though - I ate half the cookies and had to hastily give away the rest before I finished them off. Many thanks for another awesome cookie!

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  6. these look and sound absolutely wonderful - I'm in the middle of baking christmas treats for friends and neighbours and these would be a fabulous addition to the baskets - thank you :)

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  7. I just baked these and ate one as soon as it cooled enough not to burn my mouth. They taste as good as they look and smell. Oh my! I used sorghum and they were just wonderful. I'm going to freeze the rest for Christmas. Well, maybe one more for now....

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  8. These were so good! Mine came out smaller and higher but still delicious - impossible to eat just one. Thank you!!

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  9. Thanks for your great recipe! We really enjoyed these!!

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  10. Bit of a late arrival to your blog, but i just enjoy reading it now. I made this last night with Maple syrup the closet I can get here on the east coast of UK to cane/molasses syrup, but there were lovely.

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  11. Hi
    In order to get these a darker colour, would you use brown sugar, or a mix of brown and white? I am looking to replicate a cookie at a local bakery near where I grew up in Detroit. They were a really dark chocolate brown colour, with cracking, and sprinkled with sugar, and were chewy.
    Thanks.

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