Bob’s Red Mill’s United States of Cookies: Molasses Cookies (NH)

New Hampshire’s cookie is a subtly spiced cookie sweetened with molasses. Less spicy than a ginger cookie, less darkly molasses-flavored than a hermit, with a crispy outside and soft inside.

Recipe source

Okay, so I have been bagging on this cookie since I started this project. “Molasses cookie?” I thought. “How boring!” I was scornful of how the description mentioned the Boston Molasses Flood, something that took place in Massachusetts, not New Hampshire. But then I asked myself, what food would NH be known for that would translate to a cookie? Maple? Despite the fact that we do plenty of sugaring in our state, Vermont has the nation’s imagination in that regard. What is New Hampshire known for anyway? Some lax “Live Free or Die” legal oversight in the safety department (not requiring seatbelts for adults, never mind helmets, allowing private purchase and use of fireworks, just to name a few) and being the focus of national news once every four years for presidential elections?

So, okay, we’ll take the molasses cookie. It’s not like Massachusetts jumped on it, what with their Boston Cream Pie cookies. Massachusetts is spoiled for choice, if you think about it, between that and Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies.

This recipe calls for the butter to be melted, and nothing needs to be creamed, so despite what I said before, I mixed it by hand.

Left bowl for dry, right for wet.

I could microwave the butter to melt it, but often that ends up with half of the butter sizzling hot and the other half still unmelted, so I decided to melt it on the stove. I chunked it up first to make it go faster and to keep just the underside of a whole stick from melting and creating a pocket of hot liquid.

The nice thing about my stove is that two of the burners have a “melt” setting that is even lower than low. The butter melts but it doesn’t end up too hot, so you don’t end up waiting forever for it to cool down.

Yes, gas stoves are superior in every way, blah blah, but you can never turn them low enough for stuff like this without the flame going out.
On the right is the sugars mixed together. No egg yet; if you add the egg to the sugar at this point you’ll get lots of hard egg lumps that are impossible to beat out.

Let’s check on the butter:

I do have to say it felt like it was taking forever to melt.

So instead of being fluffy and creamed, it’s more like a glaze.

Sugars, egg, melted butter.
After adding the molasses.
Dry combined with wet.

It is a very soft dough, and it’s no surprise that it then gets refrigerated for a couple of hours, or overnight in my case.

The next day, I enlisted the help of my adorable assistant in rolling the cookies in sugar, about the only part I trust him with.

He did really well for about three of them and then, because he has the attention span of a toddler, he started to use one of my scoops to scoop sugar directly onto the pan until I took everything away from him.

I started with tablespoon scoops because they measured the 1-1.5″ diameter called for, but then I wondered if they would be too big and used the teaspoon scoop for the second tray.

Tablespoon scoop.
Teaspoon scoop.

I was pleased with the size of the tablespoon scoops and so I went back to that size for the rest. I ended up baking them ten minutes.

Overall impressions

I apologize for my mockery, because these are really quite nice. They are thin, crispy outside and chewy inside. Even with cinnamon, clove, and ginger they aren’t a pow to the mouth with spice like the chewy ginger cookies I’ve made before. The molasses flavor isn’t as heavy. It’s there, but it’s subtler than a hermit cookie would be. It is one of three sweeteners in this cookie (the others being granulated and light brown sugars). It’s well-balanced. It would be great with a cup of something hot or garnishing some ice cream.

I accept your representation of my state, Molasses Cookies, and I welcome you to my mouth.

And now I’m curious about the Joe Froggers cookies mentioned at the source. I like rum. Maybe I’ll try those sometime.

Tips and Suggestions

Definitely chill the batter, definitely let them spread on their own. A tablespoon scoop is a good size.

Next time

On to New Jersey for Cannoli Cookies. Cannolis are one of those foods I always think I like more than I do (like fish tacos and corn dogs). We’ll see how well I like these.

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