Posted by: A Part of the Solution | September 5, 2011

Two Spice Cookies

I’m posting the two because I know strong adherents for both recipes. My family prefer the first one, from the ‘modern’ classic (1960) The I Hate to Cook Book by Peg Bracken. Many farm friends and guests prefer the second recipe, straight out of America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.

Personally, I think both the linked cookbooks above are great foundational pieces for any cookbook collection. The first for its humor and realism in the face of the busy-day/reluctant cook; the second shines for its food science and specificity of technique (I don’t call them America’s Fussiest Home Cooks for nothing).

Both recipes make “lots” of the smallish sized cookies I’m suggesting. I happen to prefer the small size, since it’s less of a calorie disaster for me when my hand snakes out to snag another few cookies from the plate/jar.

But some people do want a cookie almost as big as their head–use 2 TBSP dough apiece and bake for 12 minutes to have that kind. Then these recipes only make a couple dozen.

Elevator Lady Spice Cookies

3/4 cup shortening, butter or stick margarine–room temp

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup molasses, I like black strap but you need to use what you like–even honey works here

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt (1/2 tsp if you don’t use black strap which is high in potassium)

1 tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp ground cloves

3/4 tsp ground ginger

Preheat the oven to 375°. Cream softened fat with the sugar until fully incorporated. Add the egg and work it well in to the batter. Now add the molasses and beat it in completely.

Whisk together the flour, soda and seasonings in a medium bowl. Stir the flour mixture into the creamed mixture, thoroughly and swiftly. Form the dough into 3/4 inch balls. Set them two inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack (you’ll have to wait one minute to remove them from the sheet when they come out of the oven as they’ll still be very soft).

Molasses Spice Cookies

3/4 cup butter, or shortening or stick margarine, at room temp

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1 large egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup molasses, with variations as above

2 1/4 cups unbleached flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup sugar, to roll the cookie dough in

Preheat the oven to 375°. Cream the fat and first two measures of sugar together. Add the egg yolk and the vanilla extract. Incorporate them completely. Add the molasses and beat the batter well for another minute or two so that it’s an homogeneous mass.

Whisk together the flour, soda and seasonings. Add the dry ingredients gradually to the wet ingredients. Forming 3/4 inch balls, roll them in the reserved 1/2 cup of sugar. Set them on a cookie sheet about 2″ apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Allow them to cool on the cookie sheet 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.



  1. Wondering what “elevator” is doing in that cookie name…

    • According to Peg Bracken, she was taking samples of a spice cookie for her cookbook up to her editors. She shared a cookie with the elevator operator, who said “I can sure make a better spice cookie than that.” And it was true!

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