Monday, November 7, 2011

Molasses Spice Cookies and Pumpkin Dip

Confession:  I probably most likely definitely watch too much TV.  No, it doesn't keep me from exercising or doing other things.  But I keep it on constantly as background noise, and I have about 1,000 shows I watch regularly.  Sundays are a big night.  Once Upon A Time, The Walking Dead, Pan Am, and I catch The Good Wife on Hulu the next day.  The Walking Dead is by far my favorite.  I'm way into creepy shows (American Horror Story anyone?!), and zombies totally freak me out.  And last night had potentially the grossest zombie kill of the season.  Gah.  I'm also into Glee and I die for Modern Family.  Modern Family might be my favorite show out of all of them.  We're pretty sure Phil is Will in 10 years.

I feel like I have to say that I like to read, too.  When I read a book, I tend to read it all at once.  I might not finish it in a day, depending on how long it it and what else I have to do, but I'll read for hours at a time.  I think I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in less than 36 hours.  I'm sure other people finished it a lot sooner than I did, but I was in grad school at the time.  Will's mom likes to read too, and there's always a book here that I pick up and read.

Isn't that a purty cookie?  It's got a healthy dose of molasses with a touch of spices.  They're a breeze to make and perfect for chilly autumn afternoon.
We've got: Molasses, sugar, all-purpose flour, butter, baking soda, salt, an egg, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger (not pictured).  The ginger isn't in the original recipe, but it was begging me to be in this cookie.  What, ginger doesn't speak to you?
Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in a medium bowl.  To measure out the flour, spoon it into your measuring cup and level it off with a knife.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until it's fluffy.  A couple of minutes should do it.
Add your egg and mix it in until it's just combined.
Molasses time, y'all!  My trick for measuring sticky liquids like molasses or honey is to spray my measuring cup with non-stick spray before measuring.  The molasses slides right out, so you get maximum molasses with minimal mess.
Check it.
Mix the molasses until it's all combined.  Look at that lovely caramel color!  Give the sides a scrape while you're at it.
Add the flour mixture gradually and mix it just until a dough forms.  These will be chewy cookies, but we don't want to overmix them.
Pour 1/4 c of sugar into a small bowl.  We're going to make little balls of dough and roll them in this sugar for a little crust on the cookie.
Dough ball.  Sugar.  Boom.
Put the dough balls on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.  These cookies will spread a bit, so we'd rather not crowd the pan.  I did 9 cookies to a sheet and ended up with about 30 cookies.  My dough balls were about the size of a tablespoon, maybe a little larger since I ended up with less than the recipe said it would yield.  Bake in a 350º oven for about 10-13 minutes.
You'll get a chewy cookie with a lovely crackle top.  It's got this deep molasses flavor complemented by cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.  These cookies are even more fantastic with pumpkin dip.  I'll provide a simple recipe for pumpkin dip after the cookie recipe.  And if you wanted to drink a cup of tea with these?  Well that'd be just perfect.

Molasses Spice Cookies (yields 30-36 cookies)
Adapted from Martha Stewart

2 c all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1c + 1/4-1/2 c sugar
3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1/4 c molasses

  • Preheat oven to 350º.  Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in a medium bowl.  In a large bowl, cream butter and 1 c sugar until fluffy.  Add egg and mix until just combined.  Mix in molasses.  Add dry ingredients gradually, mixing on low speed until the dough just forms.
  • In a small bowl, pour 1/4 c of the remaining sugar.  You can add more sugar to the bowl if needed, but 1/4 c is fine to start.  Scoop tablespoons of dough and roll into balls.  Roll the dough balls in the sugar and place on parchment-lined baking sheets 2-3 inches apart.  Bake one cookie sheet at a time for 10-13 minutes.  Cool on baking sheets 1 minute, then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.  Serve alone or with pumpkin dip (recipe follows).
Pumpkin Dip (serves 4-6)

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
1 (8 oz) block cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 c brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves

  • Mix pumpkin puree and cream cheese with an electric mixer until fully combined and smooth.  Mix in brown sugar 1 minute.  Stir in spices and refrigerate 1 hour to allow flavors to meld.  Serve with cookies, gingerbread, crackers, or whatever you want to spread pumpkin dip on!

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