While sorting through an old recipe file, I found a recipe for Spicy Molasses Cookies. It is a soft cut-out cookie; full of spices — cinnamon, ginger and cloves. With cooler autumn weather here; this seemed like a great time to bake the cookies. I used Halloween cookie cutters and decorations. In case you are wondering; these are bats and pumpkins.
Spicy Molasses Cookies
This molasses cookie could also be called a gingersnap cookie. It is one of the best I’ve tried. I like the softer texture and it really pops with all the spices. Once chilled, the dough is very pliable and it is easy to cut out shapes. With different cookie cutters and decorations, it could be used for any fall or winter holiday–Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah.
The recipe is from a co-worker, Kathy Lamb, years ago when I worked in Flint, Michigan. I loved autumn in Michigan with cool weather and bright colors of the trees; fall gourds, pumpkins, apples and of course, apple cider and donuts. When I moved away from Michigan, my co-worker mailed me a clock I’d left behind and this recipe. She was a very kind person and I must have really left the impression that I liked her cookies. Well, she impressed me!
Making the cookies
The recipe is a simple one. Cream the margarine, sugar and egg. I prefer a harder stick margarine, but had softer tub margarine available. Add the molasses. Sift the flour, baking soda and spices together and blend in. Chill.Making cut-out cookies takes a little technique. I followed the instructions for ingredient quantities exactly as written and the dough was just the right consistency. When first mixed up, the dough is very sticky. But patience paid off; after chilling the dough for 4 hours, it became pliable and no longer sticky. It was easy to roll out. Here’s the chilled dough.
Roll the cookie dough out a kitchen counter or flat surface. (A large cutting board works, too.) Work the dough into a ball; add flour so the dough won’t stick to the rolling pin and roll to 1/8″ thickness. Hum, How thick is that? I just guess.
Gather up all the small left-over pieces of dough into a ball, chill the dough for a second batch. Here are baked pumpkin cookies.These cookies are baked in a hot 400 degree oven. In my oven, the dough only needs to bake for 6 minutes–the cookies should still be soft in the center and just slightly browned on the bottom. Darker cookie pans also brown faster than shiny ones; for the next batch I changed pans to shiny ones. Cool the cookies for only a few minutes and remove from the pan. If the cookies stick to the pan, re-heat in the oven for up to a minute; not too long then remove with a spatula.
Decorating the cookies is the fun part and this is where my kids with their imaginations helped out. Decorating cookies is time consuming and it’s not my strongest attribute. I run out of ideas. I like to glaze the cookies, add sprinkles and pipe some decorations. Simple.
Ginger has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb and treatment for many ailments. The small amount of ginger used in culinary cooking does not have these properties. Ginger is a fascinating herb; but too much information for this post. Perhaps another time.
Spicy Molasses Cookies by Kathy Lamb
- 1 cup stick margarine
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tbsp molasses
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp ginger
- 2 tsp cloves
Powdered Sugar Glaze, assorted decorating sprinkles
Method and steps
- Cream margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Blend in egg and molasses.
- Add combined dry ingredients; mix well.
- Chill 4 hours.
- Roll out dough on floured surface to 1/8″ thickness.
- Cut with floured cookie cutters, pressing firmly on cutter; place on ungreased cookie sheet.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes.
- Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet.
- After cooling completely, ice with Powdered Sugar Glaze and decorate with assorted decorating sprinkles.
Powdered Sugar Glaze
- 2 cups powdered sugar, additional sugar as needed
- 1-1/2 Tbsp corn syrup
- 2 Tbsp milk, additional milk as needed
- Food Coloring
Method and steps
- Mix powdered sugar, corn syrup and milk together until smooth whipping with spoon or wire whip. If too stiff, add milk, one teaspoon at a time, until a pour-able but thick consistency. If too thin, add 1/4 cup powdered sugar at a time and mix in.
- Tint with assorted food colorings.
- Spread over cookies; add decorating sprinkles. Glaze will dry shiny and firm.
My 92-year-old mother-in-law is in the Halloween spirit and decorated this pumpkin Sunday afternoon. She had watched her 6-year-old great-grandson carve a similar one in a Cub Scout activity. What’s the theme? Dungeons, I believe. Never too young or old to enjoy a good time. I needed them here to help me decorate my cookies!