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Spiced Molasses Cookies
By Charlie Burke

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We found some great molasses cookies many years ago in a bakery and have
never been able to duplicate their chewy texture and complex flavor -- until
now. We enjoy making a very old recipe for thin,
crispy molasses cookies
previously given in this column, but they are quite different in texture and
flavor from these.

I use unsweetened chocolate in chili and in some dark meat sauces to deepen
the flavor, having gotten the idea from Mexican mole recipes, in which dark
Mexican chocolate provides a rich earthy background. Thinking of this, my
wife Joanne cobbled together this recipe, choosing spices suggested in several
recipes and added two ounces of unsweetened dark chocolate. She used
packaged pre-melted dark, unsweetened chocolate, but solid chocolate can be
melted easily in the microwave or on the stove.  The flavor of chocolate is not
really distinguishable, but these cookies have the intense flavor and texture she
was looking for and are now permanently in her file of favorite recipes

Approximately three dozen cookies:

Four cups all purpose flour
1 ½ cups sugar
8 tablespoons butter or margarine (we use Earth Balance which has no trans or
saturated fats)
½ cup shortening (also available from Earth balance)
2/3 cups molasses*
2 extra large eggs
4 cups flour
2 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
2 ounces melted unsweetened dark chocolate
2 teaspoons ground clove
2 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
Coarse or fine sugar for tops of cookies

In a mixer, cream the sugar, butter and shortening. Mix in the molasses,
chocolate and eggs.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl, then gradually add to the mixer bowl and
mix until well blended. Refrigerate for 1 -2 hours or overnight.

Roll the dough into 1/2 inch balls. Roll the balls of dough in coarse or fine
sugar and place them on a greased cookie sheet.

Cook them in a preheated 350 degree oven until they are lightly colored but
still soft (12 -15 minutes). Cool the cookies on a rack and store in a covered
container.

*
The best molasses we have found is sold at The Old Country Store in
Moultonboro, New Hampshire

About the author: An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the vice
president of the
New Hampshire Farmer's Market Association, president of the NH Farm
to Restaurant Connection and helps run the Sanbornton (NH) Farmers' Market.  Along
with his wife, Joanne, Charlie grows certified organic herbs, greens and berries at
Weather Hill Farm in Sanbornton, NH.  
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Spiced Molasses Cookies, Photo by Charlie Burke
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