Welcome to Baking with Junior! I’m Kristin, a 20-something grad student working towards my PhD in Mathematics and Junior is my feisty lovable mutt! He’s not quite 2 so still has the zealous energy of a pup (and knowing him, he probably always will). Since he lacks opposable thumbs and a discerning palate, he doesn’t actually help me bake, but he’s there for moral support.
If any of you are thinking of going to/already in grad school, you’ll probably discover that you need some sort of hobby to keep yourself from going insane. Amongst other things, my hobbies include running, reading, all things Junior-related (a dog counts as a hobby, right??), and baking! I’ve been baking different treats for one of my math classes off and on this summer and have decided to turn it into a weekly thing. Ultimately, I’d like to bake my way through the Joy of Cooking because I haven’t actually tested most of their recipes. Along the way, I’ll discover what’s good, what’s bad, and whether or not some of the old “classics” should really stay “classics”. I’ll make other recipes too–this isn’t an exclusive Joy of Cooking blog, so hang tight if you don’t like Irma’s classic cookbook. In fact, my first recipe is an old one I had! This week’s cookie was a deliciously spicy molasses ginger cookie! Just look at these babies:
Also, if you’re instantly skeptical when I use the word “spicy” to describe a cookie, trust me that I don’t actually mean spicy like chili-hot-peppery spicy. I mean spicy like Christmas spicy: cinnamon, cloves, ginger…. I mean, when I took the lid off the box to share these cookies today, the whole room smelled like Christmas came through the door! It was much needed after the rough day we were having in class, too.
Anyways, on to the cookie: I was leafing through recipes to find something great to make (and I’ve already make some great chocolate peanut butter cookies and some oatmeal scotchies, recipes which I’m sure will come later) so I have a reputation to uphold! I wanted to make something different than your standard nut/chip/dried fruit filled drop cookie, so I went with a very classic molasses cookie. These are soft and chewy–the way I like my cookies! If you want something more like a nice crunchy gingersnap, this is probably not the ideal recipe, but to me it was fabulous. AND it got great reviews from the rest of my class!
It’s a pretty simple recipe, and you probably have most of what you need on hand. I didn’t have any molasses, so my pup Junior and I walked over to the store and got some, but he was definitely more interested in the puppy treats I got him than the molasses. That dog is so spoiled….every time I go to the store with him, I always feel like I need to buy him a treat or something because he sat outside and waited for me. Maybe I’m just a sucker for his cute little face.
Like I said though, the cookie is pretty easy. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures during the prep process so hopefully my descriptions are enough:
makes 40-50 cookies
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground cloves
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup white sugar
Cream together the butter and brown sugar. I always make my cookies by hand, but you can use a mixer if you’d like. Add the egg and vanilla and beat to combine. Stir in the molasses. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. The dough will be pretty sticky, but don’t worry; it firms up nicely when you chill it.
Chill the dough for at least one hour, and up to a day. Usually I make the dough in the morning and bake the cookies off in the afternoon. As a rule of thumb, I ALWAYS chill my cookie dough; it gives cookies a much better texture when you bake them! When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a baking pan with parchment paper (or a silicon mat, if you’re fancy like that). Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and roll each ball in the remaining white sugar before placing on the baking pan. Usually I stick the pan of rolled cookie dough in the freezer for a few minutes to chill everything again after I’ve warmed the dough by rolling it, but that’s probably unnecessary. Bake the cookies for about 7 minutes. They’ll still be soft, but will harden up nicely if you leave them on the baking pan for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.