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Flour Girl: Molasses cookies come out of winter

Molasses Spice Cookies. (Leigh Lambert/The Washington Post)

Like many people, I've always associated molasses and spice with the colder months. But recently I've found my taste for this combo is evergreen, especially since our drawn-out winter means there's no telling if we'll be in hibernation for another month (or two), well into "spring."

I love the Trader Joe's molasses cookie: toothsome, well-spiced and coated with sugar. I hadn't set out on a quest to replicate them; I thought they were something to be bought, not made. But I saw a picture while thumbing through Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade magazine (December/January 2010) that looked like the same animal. (For what it's worth, other than a brand endorsement that I won't repeat here, I can't figure out what about these cookies is semi-anything. They are legitimately from scratch without any artificial stuff incorporated.)

I was thrilled to find they were just like the TJ's cookies, and even better (no surprise here) when eaten still slightly warm out of the oven. I'm sure I'll still pick up a bag now and then for convenience's sake, but it is empowering to know I can make them from scratch.

Recipe Included

It is a common (and annoying) cliche for recipe headnotes to claim that the results are so good you won't need to worry about storing the leftovers. While these fall into that category, for all I know you live alone, hate your neighbors and refuse to reward your office mates with your baking prowess. If that's the case, these cookies will store for 2 to 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature and freeze for several weeks.

They go wonderfully with vanilla ice cream or a mug of tea.

-- Leigh Lambert

Molasses Cookies
Makes 24 cookies

MAKE AHEAD: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
Granulated sugar, for rolling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone liner.

Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt and cloves in a medium bowl.

Combine the shortening and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held mixer; beat on medium speed for 3 minutes until fluffy. Add the egg and molasses, beating on medium speed until well combined. Add the flour mixture in 2 additions; beat on the lowest speed just until combined.

Place the granulated sugar in a medium bowl.

Shape the dough into 24 balls (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter). Roll each one in the sugar, then place on one of the baking sheets (12 to a sheet, spaced 2 inches apart).
Bake one sheet at a time for 10 to 12 minutes, until the cookies have risen slightly and their tops are cracked. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before storing.

Per cookie: 155 calories, 2 g protein, 23 g carbohydrates, 6 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 9 mg cholesterol, 190 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 12 g sugar

By Leigh Lambert  |  March 4, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Flour Girl  | Tags: Flour Girl, baking, cookies  
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This is eerily similar to my grandmother's molasses cookie recipe. That's really good, so I would expect these to be good as well. The only major difference is the substitution of brown sugar for granulated in the cookie. Might be worth trying sometime.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | March 4, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

And the only difference I see from my Great-Gramma's recipe is the shortening. Her recipe uses butter.

Posted by: SAF_dc | March 4, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

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