Whether you call them ginger cookies or molasses cookies, these chewy and spicy cookies are a fantastic cold weather cookie. I tend to think that it is because all of the spices in them, which seem very satisfying when the weather is cool. Cold weather is also the perfect weather for doing some baking, and that alone is a good enough reason to get in the kitchen and try making your own batch of these Orange and Spice Ginger Cookies.
The cookies include ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, orange, vanilla and anise, so while they are called “ginger cookies” and there is a good amount of ground ginger in them, ginger is not the dominant flavor. Instead, these cookies just have a wonderful blend of spices that gives them a lot of complexity, rather than just one note. The orange goes extremely well with all of the ground spices, and the vanilla extract rounds the flavors out a bit. I like how the hint of licorice flavor from the anise extract blended well with the molasses, but this is an optional ingredient and can be left out if you don’t have any.
The cookies don’t have a long baking time because they can dry out quite easily in the oven. They should be moist inside, and that helps give them a nice chewy texture, while the sugar coating gives them a little crunch. These cookies keep extremely well when they are stored in an airtight container and should keep for more than just a few days. This makes them a great choice for holiday baking because they can be done in advance, and they also ship very well. The spices change and mellow slightly as the cookies age, and they become slightly chewier, too.
Orange and Spice Ginger Cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
1 tbsp orange zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp anise extract (optional)
sugar, for rolling
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and spices.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and vegetable oil until well-blended. Beat in egg, molasses, orange zest, vanilla extract and anise extract(if using). Stir in flour mixture until no streaks of flour remain.
Shape dough into 1 inch balls, roll in sugar and place on baking sheet, allowing about 2-inches between cookies to allow for spread. The cookies do not need to be flattened.
Bake for about 7-9 minutes until the outside edge of the cookies are set and very lightly browned. Do not overbake.
Let cookies cool for 3-5 minutes on cookie sheet, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 3 dozen.