Food

Winter isn’t over yet: A warmly-spiced cookie recipe to keep you cozy

Posted on February 23, 2019

The wind is blowing hard today, a cuttingly cold wind that slices its way down through the narrow streets, slamming shutters back and forth on their hinges and ripping leaves and twigs off plants. The sky is brilliantly, deceptively blue; it looks like a perfect nearly-spring day until the wind gusts again and tips over a parked bicycle while sending a stray plastic bag flying through the air.

Senti che tramontana”, remarks an older man at the market as his scarf whips out behind him. The tramontana is a cold wind that comes from the north, from somewhere cold and snow-covered up beyond the Alps. Italian weather websites had been issuing melodramatic headlines over the past few days, promising “winter aggression”, “tempestuous winds” and plunging temperatures – and now, watching a giant umbrella dislodge itself from its stand and somersault through the market in a tangle of metal and canvas, the drama feels appropriate.

I hate the wind. It blows dust into my eyes, feels so much colder than it should, and rearranges my hair into unnecessary and unwanted styles involving an excess of frizz. I would much rather go out in the rain, which is depressing – but also fairly orderly and predictable. A windy day makes me want to stay inside, rolled in a blanket

Back home, the windows rattle in their frames. Across the courtyard, a neighbour’s laundry is in the process of detaching from the clothesline and scattering itself over a nearby tiled roof. As I unload groceries in the kitchen, I can feel the wind creeping in from under the french doors out to the balcony. The whole apartment feels cold despite the sunlight streaming into the living room windows – and so I turn on the oven, pull a few ingredients out of the cupboards, and decide to make cookies – soft, molasses-laden, intensely-spiced cookies that feel perfect for a cold morning that might look like spring but definitely feels like winter.

Molasses spice cookies

Makes about 12 large cookies · Vegan

These cookies are quickly becoming my go-to recipe when I have a craving for something sweet but don’t feel like trying a new recipe, pulling out the KitchenAid mixer, or doing anything too labour-intensive. I always have the ingredients on hand and even though the molasses always ends up being messier than I anticipated, nothing about the recipe actually feels daunting. The cookies are soft and chewy in the centre and delicately crunchy around the edges, which to me are the characteristics of the Ideal Cookie, and as an added bonus, these cookies are vegan. I know, I was suspicious too. But I honestly couldn’t imagine the addition of butter or eggs doing anything to improve this recipe.

Recipe adapted from Evergreen Kitchen’s ginger molasses cookies.

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1  tsp ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup unsulphered molasses
  • 2/3 cup cane sugar
  • More cain sugar for rolling (optional)
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the ground flaxseed with the water, stir, and set aside for about 10 minutes. During this time, you can start preparing the other dry and wet ingredients.
  2. In a medium bowl, add the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. Whisk well to combine, making sure all the spices are well distributed and that there are no lumps.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the melted coconut oil into the molasses until completely combined. Add the sugar and the flax mixture, and continue whisking until completely combined.
  4. Stir half the dry mixture into the wet mixture until mostly combined, then add the rest of the dry mixture, using a rubber spatula to mix until you can’t see any visible flour. If the dough feels like it’s too dry to absorb all the flour even after mixing, you can add a small amount of water (a couple of drops should do the trick – you do not want the dough to become too wet).
  5. Use your hands to shape the dough into round balls about an inch and a quarter in diameter. Roll each ball in cain sugar to coat, then use a fork to flatten it slightly on the baking sheet. Do not flatten too much – the cookies will spread as they bake, and you want them to be thick and chewy rather than thin and crispy.
  6. Bake for around 11 minutes. Let the cookies cool for five minutes on the baking sheet before moving them to a cooling rack – they will be very soft when they first come out of the oven.
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