February 16, 2003
Spice Cookies 3
posted by Carl


I've got it. I've reproduced the Starbucks molasses spice cookies. Well, at least my recollection of them. They are big (6-7 inch diameter), tall (1/2-3/4 inch high), soft in the center, and wonderfully cracked on the outside. I would say "third time's a charm" but this is actually the fourth try. I made another batch last week that was almost perfect using this recipe. The recipe promises cookies that are the same as Starbucks', but they didn't live up to my expectations. With the recipe as it is, the cookies were big and chewy, but they fell flat soon after they came out of the oven. In blindly following the recipe, I neglected the experience gained from my earlier attempts with this cookie. The previous tips I had used were to use shortening instead of butter to reduce the spread in the oven and to be sure to cream the sugar and the shortening well.

So I tried the recipe again with these modifications. The result: spectacular; the cookies were everything I had hoped for. As I was making them, Nadia was preparing me for the worst, telling me that it might not be possible to create the cookie that I wanted, but I held out hope and was justly rewarded. I also did some more research. Shirley O. Corriher's book has the tips I had learned before, plus a few new ones. One interesting one that I used here was to mix some of the water based liquids with the flour. This will create some gluten and make for more chewy cookies. And indeed it did.

Molasses Spice Cookies

2 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
2 1/2 tbs milk
9 1/2 tbs butter flavored shortening
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
1/3 cup granulated sugar for coating dough

Preheat oven to 375°. Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger into a medium bowl and set aside. Cream the shortening and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy, no less than 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and molasses and continue to mix until well combined. Pour the milk over the flour mixture and stir gently until it has absorbed some of the flour. Gradually add the flour mixture into the shortening mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl several times.

Form the dough into as many balls as you want cookies; I got six balls of about 1/2 cup of dough each which turned into 7-inch cookies. Roll the dough balls in the granulated sugar and refrigerate for 20 minutes or until cold and firm. Place a few balls, well separated, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone pan liner. Using the bottom of a glass, flatten each of the balls until it is between 1/2 and 3/4 inch thick. Sprinkle a bit more sugar over the top of the flattened dough balls and pop them into the oven.

Bake for about 12 minutes rotating the pan halfway through cooking. When they're done, the outside edge should be just a shade darker than the inner part and the surface should have a network of cracks revealing the chewy insides. Remove the cookies form the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for about 2 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Store the cookies in a closed container or they will lose most of their chewiness and get hard.