I host an annual cookie exchange now. Really, it isn’t so much about the cookies as it is about getting together with friends and actually having some time to spend together, chatting and enjoying each others’ company. Of course, cookies are involved, and it’s all yummy. Just like with bake sales, I don’t want to choose something obvious and similar to what others do. I also happened to have just cleaned my cabinets – two days of pulling everything out, tossing it or cleaning it, washing the inside and outside of the cabinets twice and letting them dry then putting everything back again – and discovered a partially full jar of molasses.
That made the decision easy, right?
2/3 c vegetable oil
3/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/4-1/2 c molasses
2 1/3 c flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t ginger
1/4 t nutmeg
1/2 t cloves
Additional white sugar for rolling (1/3-1/2 cup)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease your cookie sheets (or get out your sil pats).
In a bowl, beat your oil and sugar until it’s lightened in color and has come together nicely. Add the egg and beat well again. Stir in the molasses (use ¼ if you aren’t huge into molasses or closer to ½ cup if you like the stronger taste – we went about halfway between). Add the baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves to the batter and mix well. Slowly stir the flour into the dough. This will be a stiff dough, more so than a chocolate chip cookie dough and definitely less sticky. The cookies will still be fine.
Prepare a small bowl with the extra granulated sugar. I use my dough baller to portion these out to make a smaller cookie. It made 40 cookies for me, but you can make larger cookies, too. Place a single portion into the sugar bowl and gently roll in in there. You can shape it a bit in the sugar, but don’t push the sugar into the dough. Set them onto your baking sheet, and bake for 9 minutes for smaller cookies potentially up to 11 or 12 for large cookies.
When you take them out, not all the tops will have cracked yet. That’s fine. So long as you’re starting to see cracks in many of the cookies, you’re good to go. If you want your cookies soft and not crunchy, leave them sitting on the sil pat to cool, or put them on a sheet of wax paper. It makes a huge difference. I let mine cool for three or so minutes, then carefully lifted my sil pat to place it on the counter and let it cool the rest of the way. Fortunately, I have three sil pats, so I could rotate them through the batches as I was baking. If you don’t have enough sil pats, the wax paper works just as well.