Over a decade ago, I baked a batch of sugar cookies at Christmastime that needed a little something extra when they emerged from the oven. I was thirteen, and I didn’t know a whole lot about baking. I was, however, astute enough to recognize instantly that I needed to whip up a sugary-sweet frosting, stat. With few resources at my fingertips that I knew what to do with, I picked up the phone and called Canada, with full knowledge that my grandmother would have a suggestion or two.
Baking Christmas cookies will always remind me of the many wonderful holidays I spent cuddled up on her sofa, digging into big boxes of Guylian chocolates (her favorite), listening to the Vince Guaraldi Trio play “Christmastime is Here,” and watching giant snowflakes fall outside her living room window. I grew up in that house. And I still use the lessons I learned there every once in a while.
Granted, this cookie recipe-laced with a healthy dose of dark brown sugar, glob upon glob of sticky molasses, and the caramel crunch of a turbinado crust-doesn’t need any more sweetness, which makes my grandma’s frosting recipe futile. It remains, though, that I can’t bake a Christmas cookie recipe without remembering that single batch so long ago, and how loved I felt listening to those step-by-step instructions for the first time.
One Year: Pineapple Mango Lassi
Chewy Molasses Cookies
Recipe from Bon Appetit
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
⅓ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup mild-flavored (light) or robust-flavored (dark) molasses
¼ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
Coarse sanding or raw sugar (for rolling)
Place racks in lower and upper thirds of oven; preheat to 375°. Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk egg, butter, granulated sugar, molasses, and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Mix in dry ingredients just to combine.
Place sanding sugar in a shallow bowl. Scoop out dough by the tablespoonful and roll into balls (if dough is sticky, chill 20 minutes). Roll in sugar and place on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 2” apart.
Bake cookies, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until cookies are puffed, cracked, and just set around edges (overbaked cookies won’t be chewy), 8–10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool.
DO AHEAD: Cookie dough can be made and rolled into balls 2 weeks ahead. Freeze on a baking sheet; transfer to resealable plastic bags. Let sit at room temperature 30 minutes before rolling in sugar.