Let me introduce my new favorite Christmas cookie! Orange-Spice Molasses Cookies….more like ‘mouth watering, deep flavor that hints of Christmases past at grandmother’s house’ cookies. Or ‘orange sugar tops bright notes of spice and rich molasses flavor’ cookies. I am such a sucker for tropical spices and I love the winter holidays because it seems like everything is ‘spiced this or that’ during the fall and winter months. From cakes and cookies to drinks like apple cider, the flavors of cinnamon, allspice, and cloves abound. Ever wonder where Molasses comes from? It’s a byproduct of refining cane sugar. The liquids squeezed out of the sugar cane are boiled, some crystallizes into sugar and the molasses is basically what’s left. It’s then refined much like maple syrup, by boiling. The longer the boiling, the richer and darker it gets. Of course generations long past didn’t like anything to go to waste (a lesson that would be good for many in this generation to remember) and would come up with clever ways of using this ingredient, like making cookies :0)
These cookies are made the old fashioned way, by combining the dry ingredients in one bowl; the ‘wet’ in another, and then combining the two. You can use a hand held mixer if you don’t have a stand mixer, just be careful each time you add ingredients that you have a really slow setting going, or you’ll splatter stuff everywhere! And this dough is very sticky. I recommend you keep a bowl of water handy to dip your hands into to keep them wet. The dough is very easy to roll with wet hands :0)
Be Careful when rolling the little dough balls in the orange sugar that you don’t pile the sugar on. I made that mistake and the sugar clumped in the oven and didn’t allow the cookie to spread properly. I was a little to zealous with the zest :0) The best cookies turned out when I dropped a dough ball in the bowl and just moved the bowl in a little circle on the counter, causing the dough ball to roll around on the top. They have a wonderful ‘frosted’ appearance when you pull them out of the oven. When baking these cookies, you’ll want to pull them out of the oven when they’re still very puffy. They will finish cooking on the baking sheet outside of the oven and cool to the perfect soft-chewy consistency. If they’re no longer puffy, they’ve over-baked and will be too tough. Not to worry, if you warm these cookies in the microwave they will get softer :0)
Don't let your holiday baking turn out like this...
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