A soft centered ginger molasses cookie with a hint of orange
You may recall us telling you that growing up we didn’t know what gingerbread cookies were. Ginger, in any form, was not an ingredient used in our childhood Greek kitchen. When one of us was a teenager, rebelling against traditional Greek cuisine (what were we thinking?!), we purchased the Better Homes and Gardens Cookies for Christmas Cookbook. We still have that book and its stained, dog-eared and kind of smelly pages are a testament to just how much we use it when holiday baking season arrives. In that book we discovered a whole new world of cookie goodness that went well beyond melomakarona, kourabiethes and koulourakia . In that book we were introduced to florentines, and shortbread, and gingerbread men, gingerbread houses, and gingersnaps. Ginger became a new fascination, and obsession.
Every Christmas season since the purchase of that book our holiday baking includes gingerbread people and a plan to make a magical, grandiose and impressive gingerbread house using the recipe found in this cookbook. The cookie people get decorated in a variety of ways (you can be sure that this year our sweet little men and women will be wearing face masks!) and the gingerbread house…well, it never actually gets done. Like ever. (Note: the box kits with premade cookie house cutouts and icing in a bag don’t count folks!). We have never, in all these years, built a gingerbread house. Oh, we plan it! We are extraordinary confectionary architects…in our minds. But perhaps because the expectations for our gingerbread houses are always so
impossible elaborate, we get overwhelmed and choose to forgo the project instead. Back to making gingerbread people.
But even gingerbread cutouts have their challenges. The recipe we use is perfect; the cookies are soft and firm all at once and it is a pretty easy dough to work with. And the taste, so good! But, these cookies require some planning (the dough needs to stay in the fridge for at least 3 hours) and although piping on hair and buttons is fun, it is time consuming. Sometimes we want the gingerbread flavour without all the fuss. And that dear friends brings us, finally, to this recipe. Ginger molasses cookies with a touch of orange.
We think that our recipe will delight you. Your cookie batter will come together in just a few minutes, there will be no rolling and cutting out of shapes, and your entire home will smell like Christmas. With the delicious odour permeating the air, others may wonder if you aren’t perhaps, finally, after all these years, baking a gingerbread house. You can tell them that project is still in the works (it’s actually never going to happen) but in the meanwhile they can enjoy the flavour of ginger and molasses in these soft-centered cookies, perfect for dunking into a tall glass of milk or a Greek coffee.
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What is molasses, and what kind should I use in these cookies?
Molasses, like ginger, was not an ingredient we grew up with. Too bad – because it is delicious! Molasses is a thick dark syrup which is a by-product of making sugar. Molasses can be either sulphured or unsulphured (the latter is usually what you will find in the grocery store), light or dark (the darker the molasses, the stronger the flavour) and then there is a thing called blackstrap molasses – which should not be used in baking because the flavour is just too intense.
For these cookies we used unsulphured Fancy molasses (may also be called Gold Star molasses). Fancy molasses is the highest grade of molasses available, and these cookies sure are worth it!
This isn’t the first recipe we’ve shared with molasses by the way. Check out our upside down apricot and molasses cake. Yum!
Molasses is so sticky! What is the best way to measure it out?
Whenever we work with honey or molasses we like to lightly grease the measuring cup or spoon that we will be using to measure out the ingredient. A light coating of oil allows the molasses or honey to slip easily out of the measuring instrument into your bowl, with none of the goodness left behind.
What is demerara sugar?
Essentially this is just large grain brown sugar which naturally contains a little bit of molasses, giving it a nice caramel flavour. In this recipe it is a fancy little extra, and we sprinkle a bit of it on top of the unbaked cookies for an added bit of sweetness and crunch. If you don’t have it, or prefer not to use it, don’t worry. Your cookies will be delicious even without it.
Looking for more non-Greek cookies and desserts? How about these:
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Ginger molasses cookies
- 2 1/4 cups (337 grams) all - purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 3/4 cup (180 grams) butter, unsalted softened
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp grated orange zest
- 1/3 cup (87 grams) fancy molasses
- 1 tbsp demerara sugar optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the butter and brown sugar. Beat until well combined.
- Add the egg and beat until well combined and then mix in the orange zest and the molasses.
- With the mixer set to low speed, slowly add in the flour mixture. Beat until just well combined.
- For each cookie, drop one tablespoon of dough onto the parchment lined cookie sheet, leaving at least one inch between cookies.
- Sprinkle each cookie with a bit of demerara sugar if desired.
- Bake in the middle rack of your oven for 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cook for 5 minutes before transferring to a cookie rack to cool completely.