My daughter, the gourmet cook, sometimes attends cooking parties. Everybody brings a dish and the recipe printed out in multiple copies for others to take home. This can set up a little friendly competition. So good recipes are a MUST. On one such occasion Lauren found this recipe for Molasses-Spice cookies in the "Cooks Illustrated" Best American Classics cookbook. The people that write these recipes try many recipes until they find the best one. Saving us a whole lot of trouble! Try these, they are spicy, fragrant and taste wonderful with lemony tea in winter or lemonade in summer. Oh, and they were a huge hit at the party!
1/3 C granulated sugar
2 1/4 C flour
1 t baking soda
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
1 1/2 t ginger
1/2 t cloves
1/4 t allspice
1/4 t finely ground pepper (I would use 1/8th)
1/4 t salt
12 T (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter (softened)
1/3 C packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg, yolk only
1 t vanilla
1/2 C light or dark molasses (depending on your taste)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 1/2 C sugar in pie pan or on paper plate for dipping. Whisk flour,soda,spices,and salt in a medium bowl until combined, set aside.
In a standing mixer fitted with paddle (a hand held mixer will do), beat the butter with the sugars at med.-hi speed until light and fluffy. Beat in yolk and vanilla--about 20 seconds. Scrape sides of bowl as you go. Reduce speed, add flour mixture until just incorporated. Scrape bottom of bowl to make sure you incorporate all the flour pockets at the bottom. Dough will be soft.
Make heaping tablespoon-sized balls and roll in sugar (see above). Space balls on parchment -covered baking trays 2 inches apart. Bake, one sheet at a time, in the middle of the oven. Bake until the cookies are browned with edges that are set and the middle still looking raw. You will still see shiny dough through the cracks. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes then remove to wire racks to cool thoroughly.
Optional Glaze: Whisk together 1 cup powdered sugar and 2-3 T. milk or, if you're living dangerously and your Aunt Agatha doesn't mind, dark rum. Drizzle with a fork over cookies with a back and forth swinging motion.