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Browned butter brings a modern twist to a 19th-century cookie recipe
Milk Street Bowtie Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies with Browned Butter Icing

Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies with Browned Butter Icing

1 hour 25 minutes 25 minutes active, plus cooling

Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies with Browned Butter Icing

Free

These generously sized cookies are soft and cake-like. Spiced with cinnamon and ground ginger and made with just 4 tablespoons of butter, their flavor is mostly about the bittersweet, subtly smoky notes of molasses. Use either mild or “robust” (or “full”) molasses, but avoid blackstrap molasses; its potent flavor will overpower the spices and make the cookies taste harsh and bitter. A browned butter icing gives the cookies a rich, elegant finish. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days.

390 grams (3 cups) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
329 grams (1 cup) molasses (see note)
66 grams (⅓ cup) packed dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter, melted
¼ cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, well beaten
4 tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter, cut into 4 pieces
248 grams (2 cups) powdered sugar
¼ cup buttermilk, plus more if needed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the cookies:
  • 390

    grams (3 cups) all-purpose flour

  • 1
  • 1

    teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1

    teaspoon baking powder

  • ½

    teaspoon baking soda

  • 329

    grams (1 cup) molasses (see note)

  • 66

    grams (⅓ cup) packed dark brown sugar

  • 4

    tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter, melted

  • ¼

    cup buttermilk

  • 2

    large eggs, well beaten

For the Icing:
  • 4

    tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter, cut into 4 pieces

  • 248

    grams (2 cups) powdered sugar

  • ¼

    cup buttermilk, plus more if needed

  • 2

    teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions
  1. 01
    To make the cookies, heat the oven to 350°F with racks in the upper- and lower-middle positions. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with kitchen parchment. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder and baking soda; set aside.
    See Demo
    chewy-molasses-spice-cookies-step-1
  2. 02
    In a large bowl, combine the molasses, brown sugar and melted butter. Whisk to combine, then whisk in the buttermilk. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture and fold with a silicone spatula just until no streaks of flour remain; the dough will be thick.
    See Demo
    chewy-molasses-spice-cookies-step-2
  3. 03
    Using a ¼-cup dry measuring cup or a 1½-inch ice-cream scoop, drop scant ¼-cup mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, arranging them in 3 rows of 3 and spacing them evenly. Bake until the cookies are domed and a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean, 12 to 15 minutes, switching and rotating the baking sheets about halfway through. Cool completely on the the baking sheets on wire racks, about 30 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies directly to the racks.
    See Demo
    chewy-molasses-spice-cookies-step-3
  4. 04
    To make the icing, in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high, melt the butter. Cook, swirling the pan frequently, until the milk solids at the bottom are golden brown and the butter has a nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Whisk in the powdered sugar, buttermilk and vanilla until smooth. The icing should have the consistency of smooth peanut butter; if it is too thick, whisk in additional buttermilk 1 teaspoon at a time until spreadable.
    See Demo
    chewy-molasses-spice-cookies-step-4
  5. 05
    Using the back of a spoon or a small spatula, spread 1 tablespoon of icing evenly onto each cookie. Let the icing dry for about 30 minutes before serving.
    See Demo
    chewy-molasses-spice-cookies-step-5
Tip: Don’t ice the cookies until they have cooled to room temperature. If they are still warm, the icing may become too soft to spread.
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Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies with Browned Butter Icing

Get Ready to Cook

18

Cookies

1 hour 25 minutes

25 minutes active, plus cooling

Tip

Don’t ice the cookies until they have cooled to room temperature. If they are still warm, the icing may become too soft to spread.

For the cookies:
  • 390

    grams (3 cups) all-purpose flour

  • 1
  • 1

    teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1

    teaspoon baking powder

  • ½

    teaspoon baking soda

  • 329

    grams (1 cup) molasses (see note)

  • 66

    grams (⅓ cup) packed dark brown sugar

  • 4

    tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter, melted

  • ¼

    cup buttermilk

  • 2

    large eggs, well beaten

For the Icing:
  • 4

    tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter, cut into 4 pieces

  • 248

    grams (2 cups) powdered sugar

  • ¼

    cup buttermilk, plus more if needed

  • 2

    teaspoons vanilla extract

Step 1 of 5

Create Flour Mixture

390
grams (3 cups) all-purpose flour
1
teaspoon ground cinnamon
1
teaspoon ground ginger
1
teaspoon baking powder
½
teaspoon baking soda

To make the cookies, heat the oven to 350°F with racks in the upper- and lower-middle positions. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with kitchen parchment. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder and baking soda; set aside.

Step 2 of 5

Combine Ingredients For Cookie Dough

329
grams (1 cup) molasses
66
grams (⅓ cup) packed dark brown sugar
4
tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter, melted
¼
cup buttermilk
2
large eggs, well beaten

In a large bowl, combine the molasses, brown sugar and melted butter. Whisk to combine, then whisk in the buttermilk. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture and fold with a silicone spatula just until no streaks of flour remain; the dough will be thick.

Step 3 of 5

Bake Cookies

Using a ¼-cup dry measuring cup or a 1½-inch ice-cream scoop, drop scant ¼-cup mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, arranging them in 3 rows of 3 and spacing them evenly.


Bake until the cookies are domed and a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean, 12 to 15 minutes, switching and rotating the baking sheets about halfway through.


Cool completely on the the baking sheets on wire racks, about 30 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies directly to the racks.

Step 4 of 5

Create Icing

4
tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter, cut into 4 pieces
248
grams (2 cups) powdered sugar
¼
cup buttermilk, plus more if needed
2
teaspoons vanilla extract

To make the icing, in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high, melt the butter. Cook, swirling the pan frequently, until the milk solids at the bottom are golden brown and the butter has a nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.


Whisk in the powdered sugar, buttermilk and vanilla until smooth. The icing should have the consistency of smooth peanut butter; if it is too thick, whisk in additional buttermilk 1 teaspoon at a time until spreadable.

Step 5 of 5

Ice and Serve

Using the back of a spoon or a small spatula, spread 1 tablespoon of icing evenly onto each cookie. Let the icing dry for about 30 minutes before serving.

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Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies with Browned Butter Icing

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