One of my most favourite things about Christmas as the great excuse to bake.  Last night, I cooked up a batch of one of my favourite Christmas cookie recipes Molasses Spice Cookies.  The recipe comes from Cooks Illustrated, and, if you haven’t used their recipes before, they are pretty much always no fail.  My favourite version of these are with a delicious Rum Icing.

 

Here is the recipe (courtesy of http://www.cooksillustrated.com)

 

MAKES ABOUT 22 COOKIES

Measure the molasses in a liquid measuring cup. If you find that the dough sticks to your palms as you shape the balls, moisten your hands occasionally in a bowl filled with cold water and shake off the excess. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time. If baked two sheets at a time, the cookies started on the bottom rack won’t develop the attractive cracks. The cookies should look slightly raw and underbaked when removed from the oven. If you plan to glaze the cookies (see recipe below), save the parchment paper used to bake them.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3cup granulated sugar (about 2 1/2 ounces), plus 1/2 cup for dipping
  • 2 1/4cups unbleached all-purpose flour (11 1/4 ounces)
  • 1teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4teaspoon table salt
  • 12tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened but still cool
  • 1/3cup dark brown sugar (about 2 1/2 ounces)
  • 1large egg yolk
  • 1teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2cup molasses (about 6 ounces), light or dark
  • For Glaze
  • 1cup confectioners’ sugar (about 4 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 1/2 – 3tablespoons dark rum

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 1/2 cup sugar for dipping in 8- or 9-inch cake pan.
  2. 2. Whisk flour, baking soda, spices, and salt in medium bowl until thoroughly combined; set aside.
  3. 3. In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter with brown and granulated sugars at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and add yolk and vanilla; increase speed to medium and beat until incorporated, about 20 seconds. Reduce speed to medium-low and add molasses; beat until fully incorporated, about 20 seconds, scraping bottom and sides of bowl once with rubber spatula. Reduce speed to lowest setting; add flour mixture and beat until just incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping bowl down once. Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no pockets of flour remain at bottom. Dough will be soft.
  4. 4. Using tablespoon measure, scoop heaping tablespoon of dough and roll between palms into 11/2-inch ball; drop ball into cake pan with sugar and repeat to form about 4 balls. Toss balls in sugar to coat and set on prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are browned, still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone), about 11 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Do not overbake.
  5. 5. Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes, then use wide metal spatula to transfer cookies to wire rack; cool cookies to room temperature. When completely cool, return cookies to cooled parchment-lined baking sheets. Whisk confectioners’ sugar and 2 1/2 tablespoons dark rum in medium bowl until smooth. If the glaze is too thick to drizzle, whisk in additional tablespoon rum. Dip spoon into glaze and then move spoon over cookies so that glaze drizzles down onto them; repeat as necessary. Transfer cookies to wire rack and allow glaze to dry, 10 to 15 minutes.
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