Dec 07 2012

Embracing Change in the Form of a Cookie

Certain things change when you get married. Beyond the obvious changes, there’s countless little adaptations as you start adopting activities or foods that your partner enjoys.

Take cookies. Before meeting Justin, I never willingly purchased a molasses cookie at a coffee shop or bakery.

In fact, I tend to avoid any food that prominently features molasses. Molasses glazes, molasses coffee cakes, molasses barbecue sauces: I don’t enjoy the rich, cloying taste and the heavy feeling it leaves upon consumption.

My gut reaction to seeing the word molasses on a menu hasn’t changed, but I have changed my opinion on molasses cookies. When Justin enters a bakery, he actually gets excited when he sees a stack of molasses cookies in the case. Over the years, a pattern was established: when visiting a bakery, Justin would order a molasses cookie (and I’d order something featuring chocolate), and he’d offer me a bite. I’d begrudgingly accept a small bite to be nice, but couldn’t comprehend why he’d choose this as his sweet snack and not something else. But as these offerings continued, my opinion started to sway. Instead of accepting a small bite, I started breaking my cookie in half so I could get half of his cookie.

And since moving to Portland, I now frequently order molasses cookies, bypassing chocolate chip or chocolate chunk varieties. It helps that both Bakeshop and Little T Baker make exceptional versions. Their cookies are a little crisp on the exterior, and moist and gingery on the interior, meaning that they’re perfect for breaking apart and catching a whiff of the spiced aroma – and even better when paired with a cup of tea or coffee.

As an early birthday to present to Justin, I made a batch of Kim Boyce’s molasses (or as she calls them, gingersnap) cookies. The dough sits for several hours in the fridge before you tear small pieces from the larger chunk. You toss these pieces in sugar, roll them into small balls, and bake until the cookies have a uniform golden brown color. These cookies are excellent fresh out of the oven, and equally as good the next day. I piled them high in a tupperware container and enjoy smelling the gingery warm aroma every time I open the lid to take one.

Molasses Cookies

Recipe Source: Good to the Grain

Makes 3 dozen cookies


Wet Mix
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 egg
Dry Mix
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
To Finish
  • 1/2 cup sugar


  1. In a bowl, mix together the melted butter, sugars, molasses, ginger,and egg. Sift the dry ingredients over this mixture and stir to form a batter. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for two hours or as long as one day.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350. Rub two baking sheets with butter. Pour the half cup of sugar into a small bowl.
  3. Tear off 1 tablespoon sized balls of dough from the master dough clump. Toss them in sugar, roll them into balls, and toss the balls back into the sugar for a second coating. Place the balls on the baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each ball. Repeat the process with the remaining dough. *If you can’t fit all of the balls on the two baking sheets, form the remaining dough into balls and chill in the refrigerator until the next round.
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes, rotating halfway through. Remove the cookies when the color is evenly dark across the top. Transfer them to a wire rack. Eat them right way or store them in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. Enjoy!