Christmas is right around the corner, and I’m sure you’re already thinking about baking and making all sorts of sweet treats. As a food blogger, I’ve been thinking about it for longer than I’d like to admit, but at least I have a good reason. One of those reasons is the Food Blogger Cookie Swap. It’s a thing that’s been going on for a few years now, but I haven’t participated since we were traveling. So when we decided to stay home permanently, I knew I wanted to do it.
The hardest part was deciding what to make (luckily, I wasn’t the only one with that problem, since I got more than one flavor cookies from Julie). I knew I wanted to make something festive that just screams Christmas, and I wanted to make something that I could decorate. After weeks of looking for the right recipe, I settled on these chocolate molasses sugar cookies.
I loved making these cookies, and I even made a dairy-free batch using butter-flavored shortening so that Marc could have some. And, my sister and I had a lot of fun decorating the cookies – we even made some ugly ones just for fun.
To decorate the cookies, I used a piping bag and a #3 decorating tip (I think!). It took a little practice because my piping skills were a bit rusty, but I was pretty happy with the final result. If you’re not so sure of your skills, try keeping things simple with doodle-y frosting or dots.
And to package the cookies, I found these takeout boxes at Michael’s that perfectly fit a dozen cookies. Then I padded those boxes inside of the post box before shipping them. Hopefully the bloggers that received my cookies liked them as much as I did!
Chocolate Molasses Sugar Cookies
For the cookies:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 3 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup butter-flavored vegetable shortening (or unsalted butter)
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup molasses
For the frosting:
- 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons water
- 4 1/2 teaspoons meringue powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar at a medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add the egg and molasses and beat until combined.
- In four increments, add the dry ingredients, beating until combined and scraping sides when needed.
- Divided dough into two sections and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 325˚ and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Roll dough to 1/4-inch thick and cut out shapes. Bake for 11 - 13 minutes.
- Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool on the pan for 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
For the frosting:
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the frosting ingredients at a medium speed until soft peaks have formed. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe frosting onto cookies as desired.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart & Taste of Home.