Molasses cookies, with their cracked exterior counterbalancing the uncommonly moist, soft and chewy texture comes from using butter, not shortening and adding an egg yolk rather than a whole egg for tenderness. When using molasses, it's important to balance that assertive flavor with strong spices--cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and allspice. Additionally, I added ground white pepper since I sometimes do that in my gingerbread. Rolling the balls of dough in Sanding Sugar gives the finished cookies a sweet crunchy coating.
Molasses Spiced Cookies
12 T (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup light or dark molasses
1 large egg yolk
2 1/4 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
Preheat oven to 375F-degree. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside. Place 1/2 cup of Sanding Sugar in a shallow dish and set aside.
In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the molasses, vanilla and egg yolk and increase speed to medium to beat until incorporated, about 20 seconds. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and spices together. On low speed, add the flour mixture; beat until just incorporated.
Use a tablespoon-size scoop and drop into the Sanding Sugar. Roll the ball into the sugar to coat. Space balls about 2 inches apart on the parchment-lined sheets.
Needless to say, my kitchen smelled like autumn was around the corner even though it's 96F degrees here today. Enjoy!