So, I don't know about your mom, but MY mom is awesome. Yes - I'm bragging - and I'm totally fine with that. She's awesome for a whole host of reasons, but I suppose the relevant reason here is that she's an amazing baker. I have a huge list in my head of all the desserts that instantly bring my childhood roaring back to me. Oh...you want to see that list? Well ooooookay...
Chocolate layer cake with raspberry filling, chocolate fudge frosting, & chocolate covered cherries
Pecan pie and chocolate fudge tartlets
Strawberry rhubarb pie
Glazed raspberry fudge brownies
Peanut butter cup surprise fudge brownies
Thick and chewy triple chocolate chunk cookies
White chocolate lemon lattice cake
Hungry yet? Well, the one item I didn't include on the list above (because you're getting the recipe below!) is probably the best cookie I've ever had in my life - her chewy ginger molasses cookies. Together we have tried every other recipe out there that seems similar, and none ever dethrone this one.
I'm not sure exactly from where it comes. This is because my mom is unbelievably organized, and has a ton of self-made books with recipes cut from this magazine and that newspaper which she pasted onto scrapbook pages and numbered and then indexed in one big index book. I love my type-A genes! So this recipe comes from one of those cut-outs.
It says "Soft Ginger Cookies - Williams & Sons Country Store." I googled that store, and it turns out it's in Stockbridge, MA, which makes absolute sense, because that's where my mom spent almost every summer of her youth as my grandfather played the BSO summer seasons at Tanglewood in next-door Lenox, MA.
These cookies are perfect: crackly, crispy, sugar covered exterior, with a chewy interior and bold (but not overpowering) molasses & spice flavors. The original recipe is actually twice this (hence why below you'll see "1.5 eggs") and says it makes 70 cookies - it's a TON of cookie dough. I halved it, and I recommend a larger cookie since you get a better contrast between the crispy edges/chewy middle.
MAKES ~24 Cookies
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1.5 cups granulated sugar (300g)
1/2 cup molasses (170g)
1.5 large eggs (1/3 cup/75g)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups all-purpose flour (480g)
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 tablespoon cloves (1.5tsp)
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon (1.5tsp)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Approximately 1 cup of raw or sanding sugar for rolling
2 large cookie sheets & parchment paper
With a stand mixer on medium-high, beat 2 sticks of butter until creamy, about one minute. Add 1.5 cups of granulated sugar and beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, two to three minutes. Add 1/2 cup of molasses, mix on medium until incorporated, then scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl.
In a separate bowl on a tared food scale whisk two large eggs together until combined, then remove and discard 1/4 of the mixture. If you don’t have a scale, you’re shooting for 1/3 of a cup of egg.
Add the egg to the mixer bowl and beat on medium-high for 7-8 minutes, stopping once to scrape down the bowl and add the 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon salt. While mixing the butter/egg mixture, in a separate bowl whisk together 4 cups of all-purpose flour and the spices.
Add the dry ingredients to the mixer, beating on low until just combined, then scraping down the bowl and mixing on low for 10-15 more seconds.
Using a 2” cookie (ice cream) scoop or a 1/4 cup measure, scoop the dough into balls onto a wax paper-lined cookie sheet (approximately 2oz each). Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours (at least) or overnight (covered with plastic wrap), or in the freezer for 1 hour. You can also freeze them for 30 minutes and then put them in a gallon freezer ziplock bag, and back in the freezer to bake them at a later date. The dough will be good approximately 6 months in the freezer, and you can bake the cookies straight from frozen by adding approximately 2-4 minutes to the bake time.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F degrees, line cookie sheets with parchment paper, and place the cookies at least 2” apart, no more than 8 at once on an oversized cookie sheet (20”x16”). If the cookies are frozen let them sit out 5-10 minutes until they are slightly tacky enough to roll in the raw or sanding sugar, covering them fully and placing them back on the cookie sheet.
Start checking the cookies at 10 minutes (though they may take 12-14 minutes in total) - they are done when the edges start to crack slightly and the center doesn't look raw anymore. Don't over bake! Cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.