Nesting Spice Cookies

I love gingersnaps.  I love the crackly sugar coating and the way it yields to a cookie that is sharp and spicy.  I love the depth of ginger, molasses, cinnamon, and clove when they get together for a party.  I love the crunchy snap of the cookie as it crumbles onto my tongue. I am obsessed.  So when I saw this King Arthur Flour blog post about nesting cookies, my thoughts went to spice cookies and all I needed was a reason to make them, which was conveniently delivered in the from of a Merchant Marine friend stuck in Florida and another friend nursing a cold in Minnesota.

These gingersnaps are my thought of a perfect cookie and I have never found their equivilent.  These are the same recipe we used in my high school culinary class.  We used to sell cookies around the school every other Friday and there was one teacher who requested a bag of a dozen every time; how could we say no to that?

The snickerdoodles are also divine; I don’t have the passion for them that I have for the gingersnaps but how can you not love a cookie that is rolled in cinnamon sugar?  More crackle!  More soft yielding sugar!  More cookie perfection!  I used Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for snickerdoodles, so you can just go over there and snag it if you want to make these; I totally recommend it. 

These nesting cookies will become your favorite cookie the way they became mine. The instant the pans were cooled, the sharp gingersnap married so well with the neutral snickerdoodle that the whole cookie experience became transcendental.  My sister couldn’t keep her hands off of them!  As I tried them for the first time, I said (to the general apartment), “Frack, I’ve found my favorite cookie and it takes twice as much work as any other cookie!”  I then proceeded to eat two more of them before remembering I was giving them away, hem-hem.

These cookies were visually stunning, with the warm gingersnap color and the bright snickerdoodle.  Now if I could just find a way to foist off more of them on people I know. Anyone need a care package?

Nesting Spice Cookies
Based on an idea I read about on the King Arthur Flour Blog
These Crinkly Molasses Cookies are from my Introduction to Baking book from high school (which still has safety sheets for the Hobart in it. Ah love).
The snickerdoodles are from Smitten Kitchen, I add an additional tsp of cinnamon to the dough when making it as well as dipping the cookies in cinnamon sugar.

The most important thing to note for these cookies is to make sure they are of a consistent size; use the same cookie scoop for both sets of dough (or at least matching scoops).  Also make sure the cookie cutter is metal and sharp (the cookies will be very hot, so plastic will not work so well).

Ellie’s Crinkly Molasses Cookies
Makes about 3 doz large cookies (about 3 inches across) and 6 doz small cookies (about 2 inches across).
1 1/2 cups softened unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup demrera (raw) sugar (recommended but regular sugar works too)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees farenheit.  Cream the butter and sugar together with a flat paddle in a stand mixer over med speed or with a hand mixer at medium speed.  Add the eggs and mix to combine.  Add the molasses and mix evenly (my trick:  put a little canola oil in the measuring cup and let it cover the whole inner surface. Then add your molasses. The molasses will slide right out and it won’t be so hard to clean!).  Measure half of the flour, the spices, and baking soda into a sifter and sift them together into the bowl.  Sift the second half of the flour into the bowl.  Mix the dry ingredients in until evenly incorporated, the dough will be a lovely nutty brown.  Put the demrera sugar in a pie plate, allowing it to evenly coat the bottom.  Using a standard cookie scoop (I like 1 1/2 Tbs), scoop the dough out of the bowl into same size balls and drop them into the sugar, coating them completely.  Bake the cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet for 8 mins for smaller cookies, and 12 mins for larger ones.

If you want to make nesting cookies (like mine, sooooo pretty and fun):
Make a second batch of cookies that are a different color, I recommend these ones from Smitten Kitchen.
Cook 2 trays of equal amounts of cookies at the same time (I liked to do 8 on each sheet) and pull them out of the oven about a minute before they are done.  Using a metal cookie cutter, cut your desired shape out of the middle of each type of cookie, swapping centers to create a nested effect.  Return the cookies to the oven for another minute so the centers set.  Delicious.  Send/give them to a friend in need of a pick-me-up they will appreciate it.

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