I’ll be the first to admit it… I’m not always the best cookie maker around. The perfect chocolate chip cookie was not developed in my kitchen, and I’ve still never made a successful batch of holiday sugar cookies, despite plenty (and I mean plenty) of tries. But the annual call of Christmas cookies comes beckoning every year, and this time around my first attempt to satisfy that sugar craving was these chewy molasses cookies. And let me just say that, unlike some years, things went swimmingly.
Okay, confession number two: I’m not a huge fan of gingerbread cookies either. There just… kinda stale. And boring. And dry. Which is a bit surprising because they’re made from molasses and spices, which are some of my favorite ingredients, especially around the holidays. But there’s a solution! Keep all the flavor of gingerbread, and merge it with the soft and chewy texture of a chocolate chip cookie, and BAM! New favorite December cookie found.
Sometimes, I think cookies can be a bit overloaded, especially this time of year: crushed candy canes and M&M’s and chopped nuts and more. Don’t get me wrong; that’s totally delicious. But sometimes it’s nice to have a cookie that’s a bit more understated as well. You know, one that let’s the flavor of its ingredients shine. And when one of those ingredients is molasses, a sweetener full of both holiday flavor and a boatload of vitamins and minerals (all while being low on the glycemic index!), your tray of cookies gets even better.
And bonus! It’s all made in one bowl, with oil instead of butter so you don’t need to worry about softening and creaming. As for chilling, it’s not necessary either, though if you have the time I certainly recommend leaving the dough in the fridge for at least a few hours to let the flavors meld and deepen. If time is running out before a holiday party or the limit of your sugar craving, however, never fear. These babies can go from your computer screen to your belly in under fifteen minutes.
I hope your December is cheery and sparkling!
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Soft and Chewy Molasses Gingerbread Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
Adapted slightly from The Baker Chick
1/2 cup canola oil (or other neutral oil)
2 Tablespoons applesauce
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
Preheat oven to 350F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine the oil, brown sugar, and applesauce and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the molasses, egg, spices, salt, and vanilla until combined. Sprinkle in the baking soda and flour, then fold in gently just until combined.
Drop cookies by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes (they will look underdone, but don’t over bake them; they’ll continue to firm up on the baking sheet). Let cool on the baking sheet, then remove to a cooling rack.