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Molasses Spice Cookies & Buttercream Frosting


There's something about molasses. Warm, slow, dark, moody. Like honey, it's an ingredient that makes you wait -- literally, standing over the sink watching it ooze into your measuring cup -- it's almost a tease. And it's especially delicious when the weather starts to cool down; in the spring and summer, running fresh berries under a cool faucet is a 90-degree daydream. In the winter, waiting on molasses is something entirely different: you're in no hurry, and once it's combined with dark brown sugar and those deep and darkly flavorful spices of fall, molasses is unlike any other.

And then, you'll slather it with vanilla buttercream frosting and sprinkles because that's just the way we do things.

This recipe is ever so slightly adapted from Baking Illustrated, along with a classic frosting recipe that's divine on just about anything. If you prefer these cookies without frosting (i.e. if you're out of your mind), roll your cookies in turbinado sugar before baking. (Granulated sugar works just fine, but turbinado gives the cookies a little extra sparkle and crunch -- which I love).

Now, enjoy this chilly weather and get baking!

Molasses Cookies & Buttercream Frosting

Cookies:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour 1 1/2 tsp baking soda 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger 1/2 tsp ground cloves 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp black pepper 1/2 tsp salt 3/4 cup (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature 1/2 cup dark brown sugar 1/4 cup white granulated sugar 1 egg yolk 1 tsp vanilla 1/2 cup molasses

Frosting:

3 cups powdered sugar

2-3 tablespoons butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons cream or milk

Make the cookies:

Preheat oven to 375º F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt and spices until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the egg yolk and vanilla; beat for 20 seconds.

Pour in molasses and beat on low until combined, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl once or twice.

With the stand mixer on the lowest setting, add the flour mixture in 3 batches and mix until just combined. Scrape sides of bowl as necessary so that no flour pockets remain. The dough will be soft!

Wet your fingers just a tad, and roll dough into heaping tablespoon-size balls. (If you're not icing the cookies, roll balls in a shallow bowl of turbinado sugar). Place dough 1 1/2 inches apart on your baking sheet and bake until cracks form and cookies still look underdone in between the cracks, about 9-10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

Let cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, and then place on a wire cooling rack to cool completely before icing.

Ice the cookies:

Clean out that lovely stand mixer you just used to make the cookies, and beat the powdered sugar with the butter until thoroughly combined (it'll look a little clumpy).

Add the vanilla and gradually add cream until desired consistency is reached.

You know what's next: ice those cookies! (And top off with some cute seasonal sprinkles.)


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