Prep 0 mins
Cook 12 mins
These are big, crisp, and slightly crackled cookies, with as much or as little kick as you want (depending on how much pepper you add). The sugar topping makes for a lovely presentation and a great texture contrast. From one of my favourite cookbooks, "Baking: From My Home to Yours", by Dorie Greenspan. These cookies keep well. (Dough must be chilled for at least 30 minutes in the freezer.)
- 2 1⁄3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 pinch cracked black pepper (use a small pinch if you want a little spice, and a large pinch if you want a big kick) or 1 pinch fresh coarse ground black pepper (use a small pinch if you want a little spice, and a large pinch if you want a big kick)
- 3⁄4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1⁄2 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
- 1 large egg
- 1⁄2 cup sugar, for rolling
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and pepper.
- Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and molasses and beat for 2 minutes or so to blend, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the egg and beat for 1 minute more. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing until the flour and spices disappear. If some flour remains in the bottom of the bowl, to avoid overbeating the dough, mix in the last of the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula. You'll have a smooth, very soft dough.
- Divide the dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Freeze for 30 minutes, or refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (The dough can be kept refrigerated for up to 4 days.).
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
- Put the sugar in a small bowl. Working with one packet of dough at a time, divide it into 12 pieces, and roll each piece into a smooth ball between your palms. One by one, roll the balls around in the bowl of sugar , then place them on one of the baking sheets. Dip the bottom of a glass into the sugar and use it to press down on the cookies until they are between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick.
- Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the tops feel set to the touch. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and, if the cookies have spread and are touching, use the edge of a metal spatula to separate them while they are still hot. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to room temperature. Repeat with the second batch of dough.