Sally’s Baking Addiction: These Soft Ginger Molasses Cookies Are a Christmas Miracle

12/16/2015 at 06:30 PM ET

Sally's Baking Addiction Soft Gingerbread Cookies
SALLY MCKENNEY QUINN; INSET: SHARON TALBOTT

Baking enthusiast Sally McKenney Quinn is the author of the popular blog and cookbook Sally’s Baking Addiction as well as a food blogger for PEOPLE.com. Check back each month for her latest easy-to-follow recipes! You can order her new cookbook, Sally’s Candy Addiction, hereWarning: Don’t read when hungry. 

One of my all-time favorite cookie recipes is this ginger spiced molasses cookie. It’s a recipe my mom baked every single Christmas and once I was old enough to take over, I began making the cookies myself. Not one December goes by where I don’t whip up at least 3 or 4 batches.

The cookies are pleasantly spiced with ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Dark brown sugar and molasses deepen their flavor, while butter creates an incredibly soft and tender cookie. I like to roll the cookie dough in sugar before baking because it gives the cookies their holiday sparkle. That’s completely optional! The one step you can’t quite leave out, though, is chilling the cookie dough. Chilling helps the spice and molasses flavors to develop and prevents the cookies from spreading too much in the oven.

RELATED: Sally’s Baking Addiction: How to Make Decadent Skillet Caramel Brownies

Sally's Baking Addiction Soft Gingerbread Cookies
SALLY MCKENNEY QUINN

Since it’s the holidays, I like to increase the WOW factor and spread homemade cream cheese frosting over each cookie. The combination of spiced ginger and molasses with sweet and creamy frosting is out of this world! Make sure the cream cheese you are using is the brick-style cream cheese, not cream cheese spread. And make sure it’s room temperature. Cold cream cheese yields a lumpy frosting. Not very easy on the eyes!

RELATED: Sally’s Baking Addiction: Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop Obsessing Over this Peanut Butter Cup Fudge

It’s not only the nostalgia that keeps bringing me back to these festive cookies, it’s basically everything about them from the taste to the texture to the unbelievable cream cheese frosting. It’s hard not to fall in love after every single bite! I promise these will fly off your holiday cookie tray this year.

Sally's Baking Addiction Soft Gingerbread Cookies
SALLY MCKENNEY QUINN

RELATED: 15 Super Creative Holiday Cookies That Are Surprisingly Easy

Soft Ginger Molasses Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 and ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup (1 and ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
⅓ cup dark molasses
1 egg, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
⅓ cup granulated sugar, for rolling
4 oz. brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature (full fat)
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 and ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Sprinkles, for decorating

1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or using a handheld mixer, cream the softened butter for about 1 minute on high speed. Add the brown sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides as needed. Add the molasses, egg, and vanilla. Beat on high, scraping down the sides as needed again.

2. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat on low speed until completely combined. Cover dough tightly and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

3. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator. If you let it chill for longer than 3 hours, allow to sit out at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

4. Pour the granulated sugar into a bowl. Take about 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball, then roll into the sugar and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake in batches for 8-9 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for ten minutes; the cookies will slightly deflate as they cool. If they don’t, you can gently press them down. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment or using a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together on high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes until fully combined. Add the vanilla and beat on high for 1 full minute. Taste the frosting and add a pinch of salt if too sweet. Frost cooled cookies and garnish with sprinkles.

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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