There are a lot of cookies and recipes circulating right now. I don’t have quite the obsession with Christmas cookies that the rest of the world seems to this time of year. But if you’re going to twist my arm into making some, they will most likely be my Grandma Buer’s Molasses Crinkles. These cookies are the Buerschaper family’s claim to culinary fame. My dad’s family grew up next door to chef and cookbook author Mollie Katzen, who included my grandmother’s recipe in her book Still Life with Menu and calls it the first dessert she loved that didn’t have chocolate in it.
The smell of molasses always makes me think of my grandmother, and I make them every year not just for nostalgia, but also because they are a truly excellent cookie. The dough is is soft and almost velvety, and comes together quickly with the most basic equipment and technique (mix wet, mix dry, mix together). Then each cookie ball is rolled in sugar, so the baked cookies have a crunchy, cracked exterior. Inside though they are the perfect cookie chewiness and deliciously spiced.
Mrs. Buerschaper’s Molasses Crinkles
2-3 dozen cookies. If you roll the dough into 1.5″ balls, yield is 2 dozen 3″ cookies. 1″ balls yield 3 dozen 2″ cookies. I also included weights for dry goods if you’re baking with a scale. I’ve adapted these ever so slightly to my taste by using both white and wheat flour. Use only white if that’s what you have, but I like the added fiber and nice chew of a whole wheat cookie.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
- 1/4 cup (3 oz) molasses
- 1 cup (7 oz) sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup (4.25 oz) white flour
- 1 cup (4 oz) wheat flour
- 1/4 cup additional sugar for rolling
Preheat the oven to 350F and prep 2 cookie sheets. Whisk melted butter, molasses, and 1 cup of sugar. Add in egg and whisk until incorporated. In another bowl sift together all dry ingredients except the last 1/4 cup of sugar. Add mixed dry ingredients to the wet, and stir until combined with no flour pockets. Pour the sugar onto a small plate, then using your hands form the dough into 1-1.5″ balls (see head note for sizes and quantities). Roll each ball in the sugar until it is entirely coated, then place a dozen spaced evenly on each cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until they are cracked and firm. Move to a rack to cool.