Sunday, March 27, 2011

Molasses Spice Cookies with Orange Essence

7 ounces white sugar
3 Tsp grated orange zest
11.25 ounces unbleached AP flour
1 Tsp baking soda
1.5 Tsp ground cinnamon
1.5 Tsp ground ginger
.5 Tsp ground cloves
.25 Tsp ground allspice
.25 Tsp ground black pepper
.25 Tsp salt
6 Ounces softened unsalted butter
2.5 ounces dark brown sugar
1 large egg yolk
1.5 Tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup (about 6 ounces) molasses

1.       Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with silpats.
2.       In a food processor process 2/3 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons orange zest until pale orange, about 10 seconds and transfer to a shallow pan or something to toss the cookies in, set aside.
3.       Whisk flour, baking soda, spices, and salt in medium bowl until thoroughly combined, set aside.
4.       In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and 1 teaspoon grated orange zest with brown sugar and remaining white sugar 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.
5.       Using tablespoon measure, scoop heaping tablespoon of dough and roll between palms into 1 1/2-inch ball; drop ball into cake pan with sugar and repeat to form about 4 balls. Toss balls in orange 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.
6.       Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes, then use wide metal spatula to transfer cookies to wire rack; cool cookies to room temperature and serve. (Can be stored at room temperature in airtight container or zipper-lock plastic bag up to 5 days.)

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