Soft and chewy chocolate molasses cookies

These chocolate molasses cookies gave me Christmas vibes.  I hope that thought doesn't make you cringe; I know it's not even Halloween yet and we're in flux in general these days because while the fall foliage outside clearly tells me it's autumn, the recent 80-degree days leave me a little unsettled.
I do have Christmas on the mind though - not only because I love the holiday but because I'm contemplating the thought of not baking or cooking a lot during the holidays.  Timing is uncertain but we might be doing a kitchen renovation in the next month or so.  It's probably more likely that work won't begin until the new year but the possibility of not having a functioning kitchen in December does exist.  I have mixed feelings about it and I'll just wait and see how things work out and what we decide. Since our kitchen is small and we're not making any major changes beyond updating the old with new, it will hopefully not be a big or long endeavor.  
It's fair to say I'm comforting myself by baking up some Christmas-like cookies right now!  I went into my recipe archives and dug up this recipe - a very easy one you can simply whisk together for a batch of soft chocolate molasses cookies.  I couldn't decide what type of sugar to roll the cookies in so I used plain granulated sugar and experimented with turbinado as well as sanding sugar.  The turbinado gives the greatest crunch while the granulated sugar is subtle, with the sanding sugar being a nice mix of the two.

These cookies are slightly under-baked and meant to be soft and slightly more dense and chewy in the center.  The molasses flavor conjures up gingerbread and holiday spices.  And I think the chocolate/cocoa component adds a richness and depth of flavor that is always welcome when it comes to treats.  I definitely feel better after making and eating a few of these!
I have a feeling I'll be doing a little bit of early holiday cookie baking this year just in case and this was a good way to ease into it...


These cookies are a cinch to put together.  I love recipes that look like this: a couple of bowls of ingredients to be mixed together.  On the left, we have the dry ingredients - flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda.  On the left, there's brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg, vanilla, salt, and of course, molasses.  
After mixing the two together, set the dough in the fridge to firm up.  This doesn't take much time - half an hour is enough if you're pressed for time.  Like me, make the dough, set it in the fridge, and just grab it when you're ready for cookies.
You can bake these cookies to whatever size you like.  I went slightly smaller than the recipe intended but still scooped good size mounds (2-3 tablespoons of dough) that I rolled in sugar.  As I mentioned, granulated sugar gives the cookies a subtle shine, more noticeable around the edges after baking. Turbinado sugar is coarse and gives you plenty of crunch while the sanding sugar is probably the one I associate most with Christmas cookies and is a nice medium ground between the two.  
Before baking, press the dough balls down gently until they're about 3/4 inch thick. In a 375 degree oven, bake the cookies for only 7-8 minutes until they puff slightly and are beginning to crack.  

For soft cookies with a slightly more dense/chewy center, take the cookies out of the oven and give the baking sheets a hard tap onto your countertop and lightly press the center of each cookie.  They will cool and firm up but be plenty soft and delicious.

Recipe:

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Molasses Cookies
Adapted from Yvonne Ruperti via SeriousEats

- Makes approximately 18 cookies (depending on size) - 

12 tablespoons (6 oz.) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz.) packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz.) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup molasses 
2 cups (10 oz.) all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I used natural cocoa)
2 teaspoons baking soda
Approximately 1/2 cup sugar (granulated, sanding, or turbinado), for rolling cookies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees with racks positioned in the upper and lower thirds.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats.

In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and salt together.  Whisk in the egg, vanilla, and molasses.  

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda.  Add the dry ingredients into the wet and whisk until just combined.  Cover the cookie dough and chill until firm, about 20-30.

Place 1/2 cup of sugar into a bowl.  Scoop cookie dough into about 2-3 tablespoon balls.  Roll balls in the sugar and place onto the baking sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart. Lightly press down on the cookie dough balls to about a 3/4 inch thickness.   Bake (rotating pans midway) until cookies are puffed and just beginning to crack, about 7-8 minutes.   

Remove cookie sheets from the oven and give the baking sheets a firm tap onto the countertop.  Gently press down on the center of each cookie to deflate (this helps make the center more dense and chewy).  Let cookies cool about 2 minutes on the baking sheets, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. 





29 comments:

  1. I love molasses cookies. These are a must for the holiday cookie platter. These look fantastic, Monica.

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    1. The molasses flavor definitely conjures up the holidays. : )

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  2. It's never too early for holiday cookies! The idea of adding chocolate to molasses cookies sounds good to me- must try! :)

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    1. My favorite holiday cookie is a Martha Stewart recipe that makes a soft and chewy gingerbread cookie - it's full of spices, fresh ginger, molasses, and best yet...includes chopped chocolate. These are an easier version of that one. : )

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  3. I think these cookies would make most people feel happier! Kitchen remodeling can be stressful (and rarely convenient) no matter how small the kitchen. So many decisions! It will be exciting when the job is finished though, and you have a beautiful updated kitchen! I haven't baked much with molasses and this recipe might be a great way to change that!

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    1. I know it. It's amazing how many decisions and details there are in such a tiny space. No matter, it'll be all good in the end and we're excited. : )

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  4. I love the holiday season and anything molasses (or really any cookies that I see at this time of year) gets me soooo hype for Christmas baking :) These look delicious!

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  5. Molasses gets me so excited for holiday baking! Love the combination with chocolate- you just can never go wrong with chocolate :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Medha. I have a feeling you will be baking up a storm and those around you will be very lucky. : )

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  6. Holiday cookies are the best way to start holiday baking. I love molasses, and these cookies look and sound wonderful, Monica. I will have to give it a go sometime soon.

    Anu
    http://www.mygingergarlickitchen.com/

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    1. Thanks Anu. These made me feel better. : )

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  7. I love molasses cookies. The idea of adding chocolate is a great one! It puts me in the mind of Christmas, too.

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    1. Cocoa powder can be transforming! : ) Thanks, Beth.

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  8. my grandmother used to make a cookie that was similar to these, they were one of my favorites growing up, thanks for the recipe, will surprise my sister. Take care Monica!

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    1. That sounds wonderful - the cookies your grandmother used to make and the thought that you might surprise your sister with a batch. Thanks so much, Cheri.

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  9. Molasses cookies, is new to me. t is true that the cookies remind us of Christmas. I think it makes a great gift idea. I would love to taste them.... Have a great week :)

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    1. Thank you! I am definitely looking forward to the holidays. It's the reward for braving the cold, dark days and nights. : )

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  10. I can never resist soft and chewy cookies! Good luck with the reno whenever you guys go ahead with it! Early holiday baking sounds like a great plan! These look SO incredible and I am SO craving a batch of right now!

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    1. You are so sweet, Kelly. Thanks for the kind words. Making cookies is always such a fun thing, isn't it? Hope all is well and you have a great week!

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  11. Soft and chewy molasses cookies are my absolute favorite! Hands down, my favorite cookie. I could probably polish off this whole batch for you in no time flat. Your kids are so lucky! Did you use dark or light molasses for these cookies? Do you remember my little dilemma living in HK and not being able to find light molasses for our gingerbread cookies?

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    1. Hi Bobbi - I know ingredient sourcing can be tricky! I use light molasses for baking. I either go with "mild flavor" or "full flavor" depending...this time, I went with the mild. : )

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  12. I love molasses cookies. These look so perfect and delicious!

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    1. Thanks so much! Let's eat cookies! ; P

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  13. I must admit...I have never used molasses in my baking/cooking...these cookies look so good Monica...and I love soft and chewy cookies...
    Have a wonderful week :)

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    1. Just so many/too many things to try, Juliana! I bet you'd like molasses cookies... : )

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  14. These look delicious! I’m a big fan of molasses cookies so I’m sure chocolate molasses would be even more amazing!

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    1. Hi Bal! Thanks...they were very soft and I liked the crunch on the outside...a nice way to enjoy a chocolate cookie that isn't too rich and has a bit of spice behind it.

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  15. Oh I love everything about these cookie Monica! It's never too early to start baking for the holidays when you're a food blogger :) The substantial size of these cookies is perfect. I've never tried chocolate and molasses before but I love both so I think it's a given that I will. Have a great week!

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    1. Thanks so much, Tricia. I usually make smaller cookies but lately, I've got the urge to go big like the "commercial" ones. The textural difference between the edges and center is nice. I know you'll have some amazing holiday treats for us soon and I'm looking forward to it!

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