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It’s my last week at work, which means this was the last round of Sunday baking for the office.

I’ll miss doing it, and I hope that they’ll miss it (and me!) at least a little bit.  It was nice to have an excuse to bake, and rewarding to be able to give my coworkers something to look forward to on Monday mornings.  I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunities to bake for my classmates, but time works so differently when you’re a student that it won’t be the same.

That’s why there was a certain wistful quality to this Sunday evening, even if I didn’t go so far as to cry into my cookie dough.  That’s also why it seemed appropriate to be making a comforting prior favorite, the five-spice molasses cookies with bourbon I dug out of the archives while putting up the sesame cookies.

I’ll post the recipe, because I made a couple of alterations to accommodate what I still have in the pantry as well as to work through my notes from the last go.  It was already good, but nothing is ever perfect, and I think these small changes made it that much better. Since I had no more crystallized ginger, I increased the quantity of powdered ginger accordingly, and decreased the bourbon by a teaspoon.  I think both were the right call, since this combination allowed the five-spice to really come through.  I also found a box of bright-white pearl sugar way on a back shelf, and thought it would look even better than coarse raw sugar.  It did give the finished cookies a fabulous dotted-swiss mod appeal, but it also added a great crunch that would make me seek it out for future experimentation with texture.

Because it just had to be done, I tried making sandwiches with two of the cookies and the vanilla ice cream we’ve had in the freezer for the past week.  Do I really need to spell out how good the union of crisp spicy cookies and cool creamy vanilla was, or how perfect it would be for a Labor Day barbecue?

Five-Spice Molasses Cookies
Makes four dozen

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 large egg
2 teaspoons bourbon
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Pearl or sanding sugar for coating

Melt the butter in a large heatproof mixing bowl in the microwave, and allow to cool to room temperature.  Add the sugar, molasses, egg and bourbon, and mix well.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, spices and salt together in a medium bowl.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until just combined.  Cover and chill for 1 hour or longer.

Preheat the oven to 375 F, and line several baking sheets with parchment paper.

Scoop out the cookie with a tablespoon-sized scoop and roll in the pearl sugar, covering completely. Place the coated balls two inches apart on the cookie sheets. Bake 10 minutes, allowing the cookies to cool on the sheets for several minutes before removing them to a rack to cool the rest of the way and crisp up.

Store cookies in an airtight container.