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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Browned Butter Ginger Molasses Cookies

I've been making these cookies for several years. They're the perfect chewy and soft gingerbread cookies. The recipe originates from a tea shop in New York called Alice's Teacup. Everything I've ever made from this cookbook is amazing.  So much so that if the cookbook has a recipe for something I'm looking to make, I won't do anymore searching for a better version. For a food blogger, that says a lot about my confidence in these recipes :) This past year I've been OBSESSED with anything salted caramel, and I'm constantly trying to sneak that flavor into anything I bake. So naturally this year when I went to bake these cookies again, I thought "Duh!" browning the butter will give a caramel-y flavor to these cookies without actually adding any more calories. Woohoo! And thus the transformation has taken place.  Browning butter is so fun and it adds such a depth and complexity to any baked good. I really think that 99.9% of the recipes out there will taste a million times better with browned butter. Especially this one. The nutty caramel aroma and flavor that the browned butter adds to these cookies just screams FALL.
Let's talk fall. Back to school, routine, cooler weather, the changing color of leaves, and the excuse to bake anything with pumpkin (look for lots of those recipes coming your way soon.)  I wanted to pass this recipe on for those who are itching to bake a fall-flavored treat and haven't gotten a chance to get some pumpkin yet. I spent a lot of time yesterday searching for the perfect pumpkin debut recipe for this season, only to get into my kitchen ready to start and discover that the can of pumpkin that I keep on reserve had been used up :/ Then I remembered these babies and all was right in the world ;)
Probably my favorite thing about getting rid of summer heat is that baking becomes fun again! During the summer I seek out recipes that don't require the use of my oven, and during the fall I seek out those that do! Between the amazing aroma that comes from browning the butter and the spicy scents of cinnamon and ginger as these bake, members of your family will be racing to the kitchen to get a taste.
Head's up! I've actually made this cookie dough as the base for a new recipe I'm working's going to be awesome and I can't wait to share it with you all! More fall flavors (with actual caramel!) and no pumpkin. I know there are lots of fall lovers who just can't get themselves on the "We love anything and everything pumpkin" bandwagon. I'm here for you guys.  So make your first batch into cookies and get ready to enhance on these flavors again!

-2 1/4 cups flour
-2 teaspoons baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1 teaspoon  ground ginger
-1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
-3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
-1 cup packed brown sugar
-1/4 cup white sugar
-1 egg
-1/4 cup molasses
-1 teaspoon vanilla
Additional 1/4 cup white sugar for sprinkling on cookies after baking

Rounded spoonful's are flattened and ready to bake

To make
-Brown your butter: Heat a medium sized frying pan on medium heat. Add butter and whisk gently as it begins to melt. Keep whisking as the butter foams. Continue to whisk as you carefully watch for the color of the butter to go from light cream to a light brown. The aroma will start to smell like caramel...this is my favorite part! At this point remove from heat and continue whisking, making sure to scrape down the sides of the butter so nothing burns. If your butter has a lot of brown specs in it (some of the butter solids burned) then place a fine strainer over your mixing bowl and pour it through. Place the mixing bowl in the freezer for about 10 minutes until the butter cools and begins to slightly firm up. *alternatively you can skip this step and use room temperature butter...
-Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a 2 quart bowl and set aside.
-Once your browned butter has cooled down, remove the bowl from the freezer. Add the brown and white sugar to the butter and beat with an electric mixer until well combined. Add the egg, molasses and vanilla and continue mixing until mixture is smooth and well blended.
-At a low mixing speed, add the dry ingredients a little bit at a time until the dough is mixed.
-Transfer the batter back into the 2 quart mixing bowl that had the dry ingredients, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. I like to refrigerate the dough for a few hours. The flavors will absorb each other better and chilled cookie dough tends to bake better. You may also just refrigerate in your mixing bowl, but I like to transfer it to a Tupperware because I don't always bake all the dough at one time.
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-After your dough has chilled sufficiently, remove it from the fridge and form tablespoon sized balls of dough and place them 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Using the back of a spoon, slightly flatten the balls of dough.
-Bake 8-12 minutes @ 350 degrees or until the cookies have spread out and are slightly browned on top.
-Remove from oven and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Cookies will crack as they cool to get the charmingly rustic look of ginger molasses cookies.
-Enjoy :)

*Your cookies will not bake properly if your dough isn't chilled!
*I make the dough up to 5 days in advance and bake when I'm ready...the flavors set in really well and the taste is amazing!

Nutritional Information
Serving size: 1 cookie
Servings: 20
Calories: 162
Fat: 7.5g
Saturated fat: 4.5g
Total carbohydrates: 23.1g
Sugar: 12.1g
Protein: 1.8g

Straight out of the oven and piping hot!

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