These cookies have the fragrant and wonderful flavors of the season - cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and allspice. These drop cookies have orange zest in the batter and then they are rolled in sugar that has orange zest. The result is a nice flavorful cookie that is slightly chewy and very delicious.
Molasses Spice Cookies With Orange Essence
From America's Test Kitchen
1 cup granulated sugar (about 7 ounces)
3 teaspoons grated orange zest
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (11 1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened but still cool
1/3 cup dark brown sugar (about 2 1/2 ounces)
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup molasses (about 6 ounces), light or dark
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In work bowl of food processor, process 2/3 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons orange zest until pale orange, about 10 seconds; transfer sugar to 8- or 9-inch cake pan and set aside.
2. Whisk flour, baking soda, spices, and salt in medium bowl until thoroughly combined; set aside.
3. In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and 1 teaspoon grated orange zest with brown sugar and remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and add yolk and vanilla; increase speed to medium and beat until incorporated, about 20 seconds. Reduce speed to medium-low and add molasses; beat until fully incorporated, about 20 seconds, scraping bottom and sides of bowl once with rubber spatula. Reduce speed to lowest setting; add flour mixture and beat until just incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping bowl down once. Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no pockets of flour remain at bottom. Dough will be soft.
4. Using tablespoon measure, scoop heaping tablespoon of dough and roll between palms into 1 1/2-inch ball; drop ball into cake pan with sugar and repeat to form about 4 balls. Toss balls in orange sugar to coat and set on prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are browned, still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone), about 11 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Do not over bake.
5. Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes, then use wide metal spatula to transfer cookies to wire rack; cool cookies to room temperature and serve. (Can be stored at room temperature in airtight container or zipper-lock plastic bag up to 5 days.)