Caraway Cookies with Ginger and Molasses

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Molasses Spice Cookies with Caraway

I made spice cookies with what might be considered an unusual combination of flavors: molasses and caraway seeds. Yes caraway seed cookies. I love the pungent bite caraway seeds provide. It’s a common European spice that deserves more attention than it gets in my neck of the woods. I adapted these cookies from a well-documented molasses sugar cookie that appears on the jar of Grandma’s brand molasses. Grandma’s has been around since 1890, so I updated the ingredients by substituting butter for shortening, and caraway seeds for the more expected spice combination of cinnamon and nutmeg.

I got the idea when traveling in South America earlier this year. I couldn’t help notice that caraway seeds were a rather common spice. At least more common than it is here in North America where it appears almost exclusively speckled through slices of rye bread at Deli counters everywhere. It’s a bit more common in Europe, where the warm, earthy flavor is an important element in the cool weather cuisines of Austria, Sweden, Denmark, and particularly Germany.

Sausages, cabbage dishes and of course rye bread are great savory showcases for this spice. But when I was traveling in South America I noticed caraway seeds flavoring sweet treats as well. I was particularly impressed by the caraway cookies I tasted in Uruguay. There were several versions of caraway cookies in the bakery cases I saw. Some were delicate and crisp, not unlike Swedish rye cookies, others were a rich, leathery brown and deeply flavored with caramelized sugar.

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My version of caraway cookies takes a little from both and includes a bit of ground ginger too. It’s kind like a cross between rye bread and gingersnaps. Don’t scrunch up your face, it’s intended to sound delicious. After all, cinnamon toast rye bread has a long and proud tradition. I’ve also had French toast made from rye bread. These cookies will remind you of both of these old-fashioned favorites. GREG

caraway cookies

caraway cookies

Molasses Spice Cookies with Caraway Seeds

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 28Source Adapted from Grandma's MolassesPublished
Molasses Spice Cookies with Caraway Seeds

Ingredients

  • ½ cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup unsulphered molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground caraway
  • 2 teaspoon whole caraway seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • turbinado sugar (as needed for rolling)

Directions

Using a hand-mixer, cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the molasses and egg and beat until well-incorporated, stopping to scrape down the bowl now and then.

In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking soda, ground ginger, and ground caraway. Stir in caraway seeds and salt; mix until just incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in 3 additions, scraping down the sides as you work. Once mixed, place the dough in the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, place oven racks in top and center positions then heat oven to 375° F.

Use a 1 ½-inch scoop to form the dough into tablespoon-sized balls, and roll each one in turbinado sugar. Place the balls on a parchment-lined sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie.

Bake in the heated oven until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway to ensure even browning. Remove from oven and cool the cookies on the baking sheets for a few moments, then move them to a rack to cool completely.