My son, Grady, celebrates a birthday this month. Aside from me being in denial that my baby is turning 8(!!), we’re squeezing in as much birthday fun as possible in between all of the Christmas festivities. Since coordinating a party with family and friends is next to impossible this time of year, we always celebrate on a smaller scale on his actual birthday and save the big party for later. Traditionally the birthday boy gets to choose his dinner and dessert. The decision on what to eat changes almost daily in the weeks leading up to his birthday, but I always know what he wants for his special dessert: a giant molasses cookie sprinkled with chocolate chips. Interesting choice for an 8 year old, isn’t it? Grady has always been his own kid (one of the many reasons we love him), so in honor of Grady’s December birthday and the holiday baking season, I took a spin on Grady’s favorite birthday treat and made these Molasses Kiss Cookies.
Chocolate, molasses and ginger are a heavenly combination if you haven’t tried it. And these cookies stay moist for days despite their seemingly thin and crunchy appearance, perfect for making in advance. But using fresh ginger is what makes these molasses cookies a step above others. Most recipes call for ground ginger, and I’m sure that will work if that’s all you have on hand. But try to plan ahead when you go to the store and grab some fresh ginger root, or, better yet, a package of Dorot frozen cubes of ginger (already grated!). That small switch from dried to fresh ginger makes these Molasses Kiss Cookies simply one of the best cookies I’ve tried. Even Grady agrees with me.
Author: barely adapted from The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook by Tom Douglas
Serves: 48-60 small cookies
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1½ sticks unsalted butter (3/4 cup), at room temperature
1½ cups sugar, divided
¼ cup dark molasses
2 teaspoons peeled and freshly grated ginger
Hershey's Kisses candy
Combine flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer or electric mixer, cream together butter and 1 cup sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add egg, molasses and ginger to butter mixture and mix gently until combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line your baking sheets with Silpat mats or parchment paper to prevent cookies from sticking to the pans. Place reserved ½ cup sugar in a shallow bowl.
Scoop out mounded teaspoon-sized balls of dough and roll into smooth balls with your hands. Dredge balls in sugar and place on baking sheet. Bake for 8 - 9 minutes. The cookie centers will still be slightly soft but the edges will be set. Remove from the oven and immediately place unwrapped Hershey's Kisses in the centers of the cookies. Allow to cool on the pan for 3 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. Store covered when completely cool.