Like me, Anne was introduced to baking as a kid by our grandmother, Ruth. Together we made bread from scratch, zillions of cookies, and all kinds of pies. (It was Granny who turned us on to the joys of pie for breakfast!) A generation later Anne has passed on these skills to her kids, Peter and Katie.
This recipe is one of Anne’s favorites. To begin with, the dough freezes very well. Unfreeze it and bake your cookies whenever you like. Like chewy gingerbread without all the ginger, they are a special treat at holiday time and comfort food anytime. (Please note: Even though these are called spice “balls” they end up flat after baking.)
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon table salt
Makes about 48 small cookies
Combine the butter and 1 cup of the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the egg and molasses.
Sift the flour, soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and salt together onto a piece of parchment. Add to the butter mixture in 2 batches, beating just until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 to 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a pie plate. Shape the dough into walnut-size balls and roll in the sugar to coat. Arrange 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets and bake until cracked and dry but still soft, about 10 minutes. Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to cool on wire racks.