Variable Chewy Spice Cookie
I've been baking, unfortunately I've got no photographic proof of it. I will, however offer a recipe that has stood me in good stead on those years in which the Christmas season doesn't offer much time for creating a huge variety of cookies.
The base recipe is quite standard but I can promise that I have made all of the variations and all of them work.
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 1/4 cup light molasses
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups AP flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp salt
1. Melt butter and let cool slightly. Beat in 1 cup of the sugar along with molasses and egg until mixture is smooth.
2. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt. Add to molasses mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until firm (a few hours ought to do it but it can sit overnight.)
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Place balls 3 inches apart on parchment paper lined baking sheets. Flatten slightly with the underside of a measuring cup or drinking glass. Bake in hot oven for about 8 minutes--the cookies should be browned at the edges but still soft and flexible.
They should come out looking something like this (not my pic):
- Replace molasses with good/amber honey (preferably not squeezed from a bear; you want to taste the honey here).
- Replace all spices with the finely ground contents of one Earl Grey tea bag or 1 tbsp. of loose Earl Grey tea, finely ground. (I use a coffee grinder.)
- Add the zest of one tangerine. (Thick, Seville/Navel orange zest is a bit funky for this recipe.)
- Replace molasses with crappy/light honey (here you can squeeze it from a bear; you don't want an overwhelming honey taste here).
- Replace all spices with 1 tbsp of loose chai tea, finely ground (or a teabag's worth).
- Add 2 tsp vanilla extract or the contents of a vanilla bean along with the egg and honey in step 1.
- Replace molasses with real maple syrup.
- Dissolve 1 tbsp. instant coffee in 2-3 tbsp. boiling water; add to maple syrup and mix as in step 1.
- Omit spices.
- Replace molasses with good honey.
- Replace all spices except ginger with 2 tsp. matcha powder.
- Add the zest of one lemon.
- Replace molasses with treacle like Tate & Lyle's Golden Syrup.
- Replace all spices with one heaping teaspoon of nutmeg.
You'll notice that the original spice cookie recipe calls for you to reserve 1/2 a cup of sugar to roll the dough in before baking. I don't do that with the variant recipes. As a result, they do not come out with the "crinkled" appearance and may appear disconcertingly puffy in their middles when they come out of the oven. Don't fret: They look like nice, thin cookies after they've cooled for 20 minutes or so.
The sugar content of these cookies is quite high so make sure to check on them starting at about 6 minutes. There is a very small window of time in which the edges will turn from golden brown to charred shit.