Molasses-Spice Cookies

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I tried out this recipe yesterday for the first time to bring to our small group and the cookies turned out wonderfully (I love Cook's Illustrated's recipes!). If you're in the mood for something warm and gingerbready – the perfect thing for autumn – try these cookies.

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MOLASSES-SPICE COOKIES

by Cook's Illustrated

Makes about 20 large cookies.

Note from Cook's Illustrated: "These oversized cookies are especially attractive, with a rich, dark color, almost perfectly round edges, a surface marked with deep cracks, and an even thickness from the edge to the center. They stay incredibly soft and chewy, even days after they are baked. It is important to underbake the cookies (they won't look done when you take them out of the oven) and then let them firm up as they cool on the baking sheet. If you overbake the cookies, they will become dry and crisp."

Ingredients:

– 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
– 2 teaspoons baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon ground ginger (I don't have ground ginger, so I took a piece of fresh ginger and mashed it a bit with the wet ingredients, removing it before pouring the wet ingredients into the dry.)
– 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
– 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
– 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
– 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
– 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/3 cup for rolling cookies
– 1 large egg
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1/3 cup unsulphured molasses

Instructions:

1. Adjust racks to upper- and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and spices together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, cream butter, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes with mixer set at medium speed. Scrape sides of bowl with rubber spatula. Add egg, vanilla extract, and molasses. Beat until combined, about 30 seconds.

3. Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.

4. Place remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar in a shallow bowl. Working with 2 tablespoons of dough each time (I wiped a little oil into a tablespoon with a paper towel to prevent the dough from sticking to the spoon), roll dough into 1 3/4-inch balls. Roll balls in sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheets, spacing them 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart.

5. Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets (from top to bottom and front to back) halfway through baking, until outer edges begin to set and centers are soft and puffy, 11 to 13 minutes. Cool cookies on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes before transferring to cooling racks with wide spatula.

GLAZE for cookies (optional)

When cookies have cooled, sift 1 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar and then whisk with 2 tablespoons milk until smooth. Dip spoon into glaze and drizzle over cookies. It helps with cleanup to line the baking sheets with parchment paper or foil, and then to put the cookies back onto the baking sheets to await the glaze.

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