Looking back through my mother’s cookbooks, I can find at least three dog-eared Ginger Cookie recipes plus one for Gingerbread Cake, oh and there’s a Spice Cake recipe as well. I distinctly recall each of these desserts and I remember loving them all. So this year, as winter set in and I began craving the homey, holiday tastes of cinnamon and nutmeg and molasses, I stirred up some childhood memories. The recipe below became my kids’ favorite — soft and chewy and oh-so flavorful. These cookies are nothing like the rolled-out gingerbread dough meant for creating icing-topped houses. Reach for local sorghum syrup if you can find it. (Tennessee is a top sorghum syrup producer.) Sorghum is a grain that’s harvested and then boiled down to make a sweet syrup, high in potassium, that does not include additives or preservatives. Molasses is a sugar cane product that’s sometimes processed using sulfur dioxide. Its most healthful iteration, blackstrap molasses, is not as sweet-tasting as sorghum syrup.
Makes 6 to 8 dozen
- 4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
- 4 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground cloves
- 2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup molasses
- Granulated sugar
- Mix together dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Mix butter, brown sugar and eggs, either with a mixer or by hand, until very light and fluffy. Stir in sorghum or molasses, then flour mixture.
- Refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. Shape dough into walnut-sized balls. Roll each ball in a bowl of granulated sugar.
- Place balls, evenly spaced, on cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes. Then let sit on the hot cookie sheets for 5 more minutes before removing to cooling racks. These are best if not over-baked.