Tuesday, November 17, 2009

TWD: Sugar-Topped Molasses Cookies

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is Sugar-Topped Molasses Cookies. Mmmm....molasses.

I was excited about this recipe, partly because I plan to give away cookies as Christmas gifts this year. I don't actually have a ton of good cookie recipes, so the possibility of a solid, spicy-gingery-molassesy recipe filled me with excitement.

Cause my life's boring, obviously.

Unfortunately, the cookies didn't quite live up to what I'd built them up to be in my head. This may or may not be a good thing. Let's start at the beginning, though.

These mix up really easily. They mostly consist of things I have in the pantry (I'm Southern, so yes, molasses is a pantry staple.) The dough is soft and sticky, but you divide it into two pieces, wrap them in plastic wrap and chill them in the fridge for a half hour or so. This was one of the parts of the recipe I liked best; I was able to make just a handful at first, keep the dough in the refrigerator (it can stay there for up to three days) and come back the next day to make more fresh cookies with little fuss.

Once they're chilled, you roll them into balls, roll them in sugar, and then tamp them down with the bottom of a glass. Then you bake them a few on a sheet at a time, because they spread like wildfire.

I used turbinado sugar on the first ones instead of granulated sugar, and I liked the turbinado a lot better. Also, I used dark brown sugar instead of the light brown sugar the recipe called for. I was scared they would taste too much of molasses because of it (brown sugar is flavored with molasses, with a heavier concentration in dark brown), but they were fine.

Better than fine, actually. These cookies are flat-out delicious. Like, dangerously delicious. I was glad I'd only made a few at a time, because I couldn't stop eating them.

That's the good news.

The not-so-good news is that I wasn't thrilled with the texture. My friend J, who's a fantastic intuitive cook and baker, also thought they were oddly textured. The edges where they'd spread out were nicely carmelized and crisp, but the centers were soft and cakey. It's very possible that, due to the taste, we were expecting a crisp, gingersnap-type cookie. But these weren't that at all.

At first, I thought it was me. My first batch, I didn't press them down with the glass - just left them in balls. I made another small batch following the directions, and while these were better, they were still odd, and I actually had trouble getting them off the sheet without breaking.

The third batch I made, I actually made a lot smaller than the recipe called for. These came out much crisper and nicer, but still a little soft for mine and J's tastes. (Granted, we both ate every one of them.)

Our conclusion was that taste-wise, these were fantastic. But overall, we just couldn't get into the texture. Sadly, they will probably not be in my Christmas boxes. However, they probably will show up next to a pot of tea on non-fancy occasions.

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