Years ago, before my sister turned into a baking queen, she got a bag of snickerdoodle mix from the store and treated us all to pillowy, soft and chewy, perfectly sweet and cinnamon-y goodness. As much as we love baking from scratch now, we can’t deny that those store bought mixes can be convenient and magical. I feel like they also allow us to easily try something new without having to get ten different ingredients and then ending up failing at our beginner’s attempt at a new recipe! Also, they’re definitely budget friendly.
But enough about that!
Ever since Sara made me fall in love with snickerdoodles, I could not get enough of that beautiful texture. Slightly crispy edges paired with crunchy granules of sugar to bite through, only to get to the perfectly chewy insides. I was cheating on my first love, the chocolate chip cookie.
Although these spiced molasses cookies are definitely not snickerdoodles, they also hold their own special place in my heart. I like to think these molasses cookies are snickerdoodle’s darker and sexier cousin. Cinnamon and sugar are yummy but safe. Throw in some ginger, cardamom, and cloves, and now it’s a dangerous and wonderful flavor explosion! I’ve been playing with spices a lot more recently and I’m never looking back! Besides, it’s October. Am I even allowed to bake without adding a few teaspoons of spice?! I was testing out a version of this recipe the other day, sharing with a few friends. One of whom exclaimed at how it felt like such a holiday cookie! And I definitely agree. From its eclectic warm spiced flavors, to the dark brown cracks, and shimmering sugar coat, I can’t help but to feel all festive and warm when I eat (or even SMELL) these!
On another note, are we all devoted fans of cookies made with butter? Or do we have some vegetable shortening people here?! I’m a die hard butter fan, mostly because of the rich buttery flavor it adds. But shortening has it’s place too, with it’s ability to hold texture and shape of a cookie while adding some “crisp” (they spread out less while baking). For this recipe, I went somewhere in the middle! But if you only have either one, feel free to use 100% butter, or 100% shortening (but note that texture will change a little)!
These are so easy and fun to make– perfect for when friends or kids want to get involved! Plus, they keep well and get even chewier the next day!
- Measuring flour: it’s so simple but I had been doing this wrong for so long. I used to just dunk my measuring cup straight into my bag of flour and shake off the top until it seemed level on top. But you can easily end up with too much flour and sub-par cookies! The easiest fix to this is to use a spoon or fork to fluff up the flour, and then spoon it into your measuring cup without packing any of it down. Once you’ve spooned enough to have a heapful on top, use the straight edge of a butter knife to scrape off the top.
- This is a pretty sticky/wet dough. Definitely refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before rolling!
- Spices: If you don’t have (or like) all the spices, don’t feel the need to go out to get all of them! Make this recipe your own! I feel like the biggest players are definitely ginger and cinnamon though, so I wouldn’t skip those!
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground all spice
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature, cubed
½ cup vegetable shortening *
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
⅓ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
⅓ cup molasses, unsulphured
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup granulated sugar for coating
*If you would like to use ONLY butter, use 3/4 cup butter. Same for shortening.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, all spice, and salt. Set aside. (I always like to sift these ingredients to make them easier to combine, but if you’re not fussy about that, you can skip sifting).
- With the paddle attachment on your stand mixer, cream butter, shortening, and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
- Switch to low speed, add in egg, molasses, and vanilla. Beat until combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
- Add in the flour mixture a third at a time, mixing at low speed just until combined. Do not over mix.
- Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes (but can be refrigerated for up to 2 days).
- Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in the middle of oven.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Scoop out a little more than 1 tablespoon of dough and lightly roll into a ball (balls should be about 1 inch). Do not over work the dough. (I like to use a tablespoon measuring spoon and spoon out a heaping tablespoon for each cookie. This helps to ensure that my balls are all about the same size).
- Roll in granulated sugar, fully coating the ball. Set on lined cookie sheet about 2 inches apart from each other.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.