It’s December 1st so naturally there are Christmas trees all over NYC and my tastes are turning from apple cider to egg nog. I’ve been working on these cookies for a while, and they would have been great at the Thanksgiving table too, but I wanted them to be perfect so here they are: Molasses Snickerdoodles!
My taste testers told me this is the best texture of a cookie that I’ve ever created. I have to agree I was shocked at the almost crisp and chewy outside that covers a soft, fudgey center, woo hoo!
They have a touch of spice but not too much, they have an outer crust for some chew but the centers are gooey and soft, they are sweet but just barely. In other words, their flavor can transform completely depending on the beer you drink with them (or the egg nog you dunk them in!).
The best beer pairings are a result of the food and the beer converging to create *new* flavor, a taste that wouldn’t be there without the intermingling of the two. It’s a requirement that is often hard to meet, and I’ll admit I’ve only experienced it a few dozen times even though I’ve tried who knows how many pairings. But that’s why I created these cookies.
Some beers have hops that accent the spicy ginger. The cookie’s molasses brings out subtle toffee like flavors in certain beers. Other beers have cinnamon in them already and when they’re sipped with the cookie the cinnamon disappears to reveal new flavors.
If I didn’t write the recipe I might swear there was holiday magic afoot!
The recipe is below and below that are a few notes to help you with cookie success. (Because I know everyone loathes scrolling all the way to the bottom of the page for the recipe. These are the things I do for you!!)
Molasses Snickerdoodles Recipe
Makes 12 2 ½ tablespoon cookies or 30 1 tablespoon cookies
¾ cup Unsalted Butter at room temperature (170g)
1 ¼ cup Granulated Sugar (250g)
3 cups AP Flour (375g)
2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
1 ½ teaspoons Baking Soda
1 ½ teaspoons Ground Ginger
½ teaspoon Salt
1 large Egg
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract (I use this one!)
¼ cup Molasses (60ml)
⅓ cup Granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ teaspoon Salt
How to Make ‘em
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment whip butter on medium until it is creamy. Scrape the bowl and paddle and add the sugar. Whip on medium for at least 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cream of tartar, baking soda, ginger, and salt. Set aside.
Return to the stand mixer, scrape the bowl and whip butter and sugar an additional 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. (You will notice the color is lighter and the mixture has expanded in size.)
Then add the egg and vanilla, whip just until the ingredients disappear into the mixture, around 15 seconds. Scrape the bowl and add the molasses. Whip for 20 seconds, then scrape the bowl and whip until the mixture is well combined.
Stop the mixer and add half of the flour mixture. Mix on low for 20 seconds or until the flour texture has started to disappear. Add the rest of the flour and mix on low just until combined, do not over mix. The dough will be somewhat crumbly and may not hold together.
Scrape the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Shape it into a ball and wrap tightly then chill in the freezer for AT LEAST one hour. (If chilling overnight, chill in the refrigerator.)
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Remove the dough from the freezer and use a cookie scoop to portion it into equal portions. A 2 ½ tablespoon scoop will give you 12 cookies, a 1 tablespoon scoop will get you 30. Roll the portions between your hands until dough forms perfectly round balls. roll the dough in a mixture of the sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
Place the spheres on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper about 2 inches apart. (These do not spread very much.) Make sure to reserve the extra sugar mixture.
Bake on larger size cookies for 10 minutes, smaller cookies for 8 minutes. Check the oven, cookies should look slightly spread but solid (they are forming a crust), if they are starting to crack bake for one additional minute, if they show no cracks bake for two additional minutes.
Remove from the oven and use the back of a spoon to gently flatten the cookies, this will cause the crust to crack revealing the gooey centers. Immediately sprinkle the cookies with extra sugar mixture, being sure to coat the new cracks with the mixture.
Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes, finish cooling on a wire rack.
These cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature but they are best fresh when the crust is chewy and the centers are soft.
Tips for Molasses Snickerdoodle Success
DO NOT substitute the Cream of Tartar I know someone along the way told you “use X lemon juice for every teaspoon it’s the same.” It’s not. IT’S NOT! Lemon juice is wet (in case you didn’t notice) so if it’s added with the other wet ingredients it throws off the cookie texture because they get acidified. If it’s added with the dry ingredients it usually isn’t mixed evenly throughout. It’s a lose lose. (Plus the goal is to keep the baking soda and cream of tartar dry for as long as possible, as soon as they get wet the leavening reaction begins!)
Don’t substitute the molasses either. Trust me I also tried making these with cookie butter (a recipe for another day!) and they just don’t work. Molasses gives these cookies their particular texture which is particularly divine.
I did not test these cookies directly on the baking sheet. I always bake cookies on a silicone baking mat (and you can too!) to protect the cookie bottoms and let heat disperse evenly. If you aren’t using a mat or parchment paper check your cookies a minute or two early to see how they’ve spread.
Don’t have a cookie scoop? Get one!! Just kidding, you can just portion your cookies evenly and everything will work out, just keep an eye on baking time.
Have TWO cookie scoops like me? I call the big one Big Bertha and the small one Baby Bertha…anyway, you can definitely split the batch between the two scoops. You’ll get six Big Berthas and 15 Baby Berthas.