This cookie has a perfect mix of spices that give it a burst of flavor. Baked to perfection, it is crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, not to mention covered in beautiful cracks. I dare you to eat just one!
Just look at those beautiful cracks (aka crinkles)! They are almost too beautiful to eat…almost. This is another cookie I grew up on and has remained one of my favorites. When I had surgery a couple of years ago, my mom, remembering these as one of my favorites, mailed me a whole box of homemade molasses crinkles! I’m not sure my family even knew I got them…shhh…No, I didn’t share. But when I make them myself, I usually make a double batch. Half goes in the freezer, a good amount are eaten while warm, and some go in the cookie jar. These cookies even pass the “stay soft” test, as they are still soft on day 4! The last time I made these, my youngest said that I should make them every time! All this to say, these cookies are a “must make”! You need these cookies in your life! You can thank me later.
These cookies are pretty straightforward. But you must chill the dough for at least 2 hours. I will even make the dough the night before and bake the cookies the following day. If you chill it that long, let your dough sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. You don’t want the dough so cold that the cookies don’t spread out while baking.
I will admit, I am old school when it comes to molasses crinkles. I have always used the method of dipping two fingers in water and touching the sugary top of each rolled ball. This wets the sugar and aids in giving the cookies beautiful cracks on top. Most recipes omit this step. Maybe I’m just a creature of habit, but my cookies have such beautiful tops with this method, and honestly, it doesn’t add much time to the whole process.
Some tricks to getting plump, soft cookies:
- For this recipe, you must chill the dough. Chilling the dough before baking solidifies the fat in the cookies. As the cookies bake, the fat in the chilled cookie dough takes longer to melt than room-temperature fat. And the longer the fat remains solid, the less the cookies spread.
- The recipe calls for 10-12 minutes. As a test, I did my first pan at 10 minutes, my second at 11 minutes, and the third at 12 minutes. I found that 11 minutes was the perfect time for plump, soft cookies with beautiful cracks. So don’t be afraid to play around with the baking times, as ovens slightly vary in how they bake. I would keep it to 1-minute adjustments.
- One of the rules I follow for all my cookies involves how I cool them. When you take your cookies out of the oven, let them rest for 2 minutes on the baking sheet before attempting to move them to a cooling rack. They will be too soft to remove right away. But do not leave them on the hot baking sheet any longer than 2 minutes. They will continue to bake and spread out on the hot pan, and you will end up with flatter, crispier cookies instead of soft ones.
- Another rule I always follow is to allow my baking sheets to come to room temperature before adding more cookie dough. Adding cookie dough to a hot or even warm pan will cause the fats in the dough to begin to soften and melt, resulting in a cookie that spreads out more and is flatter. If you do not want to wait for your pans to cool, run your pan under cool water for 20 to 30 seconds, dry, and continue with your baking.
With the use of molasses, cloves, and cinnamon, these cookies would make a perfect addition to your holiday baking, whether it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas. I make them year-round because I can’t only have these once a year!
Some of the tools and equipment that I love to use are listed here:
- ¾ cup shortening
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup molasses
- 2¼ cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- ½ cup granulated sugar, for dipping cookies
- In a standing mixer, cream together shortening, brown sugar, egg, and molasses thoroughly.
- In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger until evenly incorporated.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined. Do not over-mix.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill. Chill for at least 2 hours, but it can chill overnight.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Prepare baking sheets by lining with silicone mats or parchment paper.
- Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Roll the cookie in the granulated sugar.
- Place dough balls on prepared baking sheets. Dip two fingers in a small bowl of water and touch the top of each cookie.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes (or until cookies are golden brown and nicely cracked on top, but still soft in the center). I find 11 minutes is the perfect amount with my oven.
- Allow the cookies to rest on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to completely cool.
- Allow the baking sheet to return to room temperature before adding more dough. For a quicker method, run your pan under cool water for 20 to 30 seconds, dry, and continue with your baking.