molasses cookies

I wanted to get this in before you are completely sick of baking.  I hope I’m not too late ‘cuz these cookies are SO worth it.  I adapted the recipe from Tori Ritchie, a local cookbook author and TV chef, who writes a wonderful blog called “Tuesday’s Recipe.”  After further review, Tori gives the original credit to the San Francisco Chronicle, which is often what happens when something is THAT good.  It gets passed on umpteen times.

Blackstrap molasses is a sweetener that is actually good for you. Unlike refined white sugar and corn syrup, which are stripped of virtually all nutrients, or artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which  have been shown to cause health problems in sensitive individuals, blackstrap molasses is a sweetener that contains high amounts of a variety of minerals that promote your health.
Two teaspoons of blackstrap molasses will provide you with 18.0% of the day’s needs for manganese. This trace mineral helps produce energy from protein and carbohydrates, and is involved in the synthesis of fatty acids that are important for a healthy nervous system.
Molasses is also high in iron and calcium. Calcium binds to and removes toxins from the colon, thus reducing the risk of colon cancer; and also may help prevent migraine attacks. Same amount of blackstrap molasses will meet 11.8% of your daily needs for calcium (Source: World’s Healthiest Foods.)  Enjoy with milk and you have almost met your daily quota.  See, the holidays don’t have to be all that bad for you:)

Molasses Pepper Cookies – Makes 4 dozen

The key to this recipe is using freshly ground pepper.  It takes a bit of ‘arm twisting’ but makes all the difference in giving the cookies their zing!

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted organic butter, at room temperature
1 cup date or brown sugar
1/4 cup organic blackstrap molasses
1 large egg, at room temperature
2-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
5 TB maple or unrefined cane sugar

Preheat an oven to 350°. Line 3 or 4 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or in a bowl with a hand-held mixer, beat the butter, sugar and molasses until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg. Add the flour, salt and 1 teaspoon pepper, and beat on low until the dough comes together.

In a shallow bowl, mix the remaining pepper with the 5 tablespoons sugar. Scoop up a rounded tablespoon of the dough, roll it into a ball, then roll in the pepper-sugar mixture until coated. Repeat with remaining dough, placing balls about 2 inches apart on baking sheets. With a fork, gently flatten each ball. Bake until cookies are golden and fragrant, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on racks, then store airtight up to 3 days.

Perfect for Santa – or his helpers.  Ho! Ho! Ho!  And Merry Christmas to all…


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