Molasses Crinkles

December 19, 2012

in Cook What You Like, Cookies and Confections


Theory: Molasses Crinkles are very effective at defrosting hands and warming hearts.

How do I know that?

I have cookie eaters’ scientific evidence.

After almost 20 years of  baking batch after batch of Molasses Crinkles, visual but undocumented study results validate the above stated theory.  There’s live testimony, too, but they’re probably shoveling the driveway or building a snow fort.

Test the theory for yourself.

Here’s how.

Start with cold weather.  The colder the better, like winter in Truckee, Minneapolis, or anywhere north of Washington DC.  Snow is a nice variable but not particularly necessary.  Freezing wind works just fine.

Then make these Molasses Crinkles.  As the baked cookies come out of the oven, invite into your home a few test subjects.  Tips: humans provide more descriptive feedback.  Dogs tend to be less picky, and cats, well, they are sometimes a little disinterested in these studies.

Make these observations. As the humans walk in, they’ll make a nice comment like “smells good in here”.  Dogs’ tails wag faster.  Then the humans will proceed to take off their hats and gloves, and loiter around the cookies.  The dogs will already be checking things out around the oven.

Make sure water’s heating for coffee, tea or hot cocoa.

Your humans will then wrap their hands around the warm mugs.  Dogs will act like Pavlov’s test subjects. Your testers patiently wait for a cookie.  Or maybe not.  Maybe they’ve already tested a cookie or two while you were putting another sheet of cookies in the oven.  Maybe a cookie “accidentally” dropped off the counter.

One bite, then another.  One cookie, then another.  Sips from the mugs.

Conclusion: fingers are again pliable.  Hearts are smiling.  Tails keep sweeping.

Gourmet magazine, in their November 1995 issue, printed the original recipe, courtesy of Mocha Molly’s Coffee Saloon and Roasting Company in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, from which this recipe is adapted.  Bill Staehlin, repeated cookie test subject, shares a hint learned from his mom: sprinkling cookies and baking sheets with water before putting them in the oven helps the tops of the cookies crack.

Recipe: Molasses Crinkles

Summary: Chewy molasses spice cookie


  • 4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup mild molasses
  • 2 large eggs
  • Sugar for coating (raw, sparkling or granulated)


  1. In a medium bowl, combine and mix together flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, shortening, granulated sugar, and brown sugar and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add molasses and beat well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add flour into wet mixture, mixing by hand until dry ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Preheat oven to 350º F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
  4. Place coating sugar in a small shallow bowl. Pinch off a piece of dough, making 1 inch balls. Roll tops of balls in coating sugar and place 2 inches apart on lined baking sheets, sugared tops up. With the flat bottom of a glass, slightly flatten dough balls.  Glass bottom may need to be dipped in sugar to prevent sticking.
  5. Before placing baking sheets in oven, lightly flick (with a wet hand) room temperature water onto cookies. Bake until cookies are puffed and bottoms are more brown than the unbaked dough, about 9-10 minutes; cookies’ tops should be cracked and cookies look slightly underdone. If baking more than one sheet at a time, halfway through baking, rotate sheets top to bottom, front to back. Remove sheets from oven and let cookies rest on baking sheet for 1-2 minutes to firm up. Use an offset spatula to remove to cooling racks.

Makes about 4 dozen.  Store for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.  Good travelers.

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