These are my FAVORITE cookies to have around the holidays. They are sugary and a bit crisp on the outside and edges, and the inside is soft, chewy, spiced goodness. A few tips for great results; make sure your spices are fresh. For a milder flavor use light molasses, for stronger flavor use dark. (I use dark!) Measure the molasses in a liquid measuring cup. Bake cookies one sheet at a time, if baked together the cookies on the bottom rack won’t develop the attractive cracks. Remove cookies from the oven when they still look slightly raw and under-baked. Enjoy and try to eat just one. I dare you.
from: The Best New Recipe
2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp finely ground black pepper
¼ tsp salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus ½ cup for rolling
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup light or dark molasses
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, spices, pepper and salt in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined; set aside.
Either by hand or with an electric mixer, beat the butter with the brown sugar and the 1/3 cup granulated sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the yolk and vanilla; increase the speed to medium and beat until incorporated, about 20 seconds. Reduce the speed to medium-low again and add the molasses; beat until fully incorporated, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl once. Reduce the speed to the lowest setting, add the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated, scraping the bowl once. Give the dough a final stir by hand to ensure that no pockets of flour remain.
Place the ½ cup of granulated sugar for rolling in a shallow bowl. Fill a medium bowl with tap water. Dip your hands into the water and shake off the excess (this will prevent the dough from sticking to your hands and ensure that the sugar sticks to the dough). Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough and roll between your moistened palms. Drop the balls into the sugar, roll around, and place cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared sheet. Repeat.
Bake until the cookies are browned and still puffy, the edges have begun to set, and the centers are still soft (the cookies will look underdone between the cracks), about 9-11 minutes. Rotate the sheet from front to back halfway through the baking time, unless you are baking in a convection oven. Do not over-bake.
Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.