Around the holidays there's this influx of spices. All of a sudden every coffee shop and bakery has things laced with cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and ginger. Like everyone else I stuff my chubby little cheeks with as much seasonal flavor but when it comes to making snacks for my own home, I'm looking for something more subtle. Something a little more seductive, you know the kind of cookie that's good and you can't quite figure out why — and then suddenly the entire plate of them is gone. I've always been a fan of seasonal cookies. There are rich molasses cookies that are the size of saucers. There are gingersnaps, some of which are so sharp they can almost burn your tongue. There are pastries and beverages filled with nutmeg and allspice, and sometimes everything just seems too bold.
I wanted to combine all those flavors into one cookie that wasn't so overpowering to your senses that they call you back for several rounds of snacking (because who really just wants to eat one cookie with their tea?). I was searching for a molasses cookie without so much bite, a ginger cookie that didn't leave you breathing fire, and something with seasonal spices that didn't scream PIE at you. Was it possible?
Oh, it totally was and then these drunken molasses cookies were born.
The rum tones things down and mellows it all out without being a starring flavor in the cookie itself. The cookies are not too sweet and not too spicy; they're like the Goldilocks cookie, as they're just right. I make mine ahead, freeze them off and bake them when company comes. They're also good for those late nights spent with hot chocolate under a blanket while you catch up on your Hulu.
Drunken Molasses Cookies With Ginger
Yields 18 2 1/2-inch cookies
2 cups + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons freshly microplaned/grated ginger
3/4 teaspoon cloves
3/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda (sifted to remove lumps)
1/2 cup unsalted, room temperature butter
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
2/3 cup molasses
6 tablespoons dark rum (though any rum or even apple juice will work)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and prep a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add spices and mix. Add flour and baking soda and mix. Pour in molasses and rum, mix until dough forms. It should be very sticky, not dry.
Roll into 1.5" balls and flatten slightly. Bake for 12-13 minutes until set. The top of the cookie should be all one uniform color, not dark at the edges or light in the middle. Cool on cookie sheet and parchment until a off-set spatula can slide them off (the bottom of the cookie will still be a little sticky). Flip them over for 3 minutes to let the air reach the bottom of the cookie and then enjoy. Keep in an airtight container for up to a week. If they'll last that long.
(Image: Sarah Rae Trover)