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For this coming week or so, this is high cookie season. We bake and bake. Oh, we eat, too. I’ve posted this recipe before.  It is our go-to spice cookie. Superb. Yes, there are cookies beyond brownies and chocolate chip. Not many, but this one to stir memories. And make them, too.

When we hear the word “cookie” images of chocolate chips often pop into our minds. Or brownies. That’s all natural, I admit. But there is a world of cookies out there. And the third most likely cookie type I try to make is that molasses spice cookie we’ve all sampled.

If you google, you’ll find many recipes for molasses and molasses spice cookies. Hard, soft, chewy, petit, giant. I’ve had some good cookies. I’ve had many that reminded me of a brown Frisbee.

So, I’ve been experimenting. I like my cookie big. I want a crunchy crust, but overall I want a soft cookie that lets my teeth just glide through after the first resistance. I want flavor but not so much spice that my mouth burns. And I want to enjoy the power of molasses to invoke memories of kitchens decades ago when my grandmother would turn out tray after tray of molasses wonders.

I don’t have her recipe, but I’ve created this one. I think this cookie is perfect. Simply perfect.

Oh, yes, one quibble. Before baking you roll these cookies in granulated sugar. Sometimes the sugar stays on the cookie and sometimes, as you can see in the picture, sugar flakes off during the baking process. I don’t know why. There are cookie mysteries that may never be solved.

But there is no mystery that, sugared or not, you want to bite into one of these. Your kids can pair this with milk. You want caffeine.

This recipe calls for using Mexican piloncillo brown sugar. It is brown sugar pressed into a cone shape and tastes of molasses although no molasses is added. It is the texture, flavor and moisture content of this Mexican ingredient that contributes significantly to the success of this cookie.

Perfect Molasses Spice Cookies

Yield: ~ 30 cookies depending on your definition of “ball”


  • 7 ounces soft butter
  • 1 cup piloncillo brown sugar, cut with a knife into thin slices [it does cut easily]
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Granulated sugar for rolling the cookie dough


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover a full sheet, or two half sheets, with parchment paper.

In a stand mixer, cream the butter then add the sugar and beat until thoroughly blended and airy, about 2 minutes.

Lower the mixer speed. Add the egg, molasses and vanilla extract. Stir to mix. Add the remaining ingredients — except for the granulated sugar — and mix.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, checking for doneness.

Source: Brian O’Rourke

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/4 for1/50th second at ISO‑1000