Monday, February 10, 2014

Molasses Thumbprint Cookie Recipe

Food is so intertwined with memories for me. I smell these cookies baking and I'm instantly transported back in time to my mom's tiny kitchen, helping her roll out molasses cookies and spoon in the homemade mincemeat filling. YUM. The warm spices combined with the sweet molasses cookies are a perfect combination and a perfect treat for a cold, blustery, winter day.


The original recipe required working in batches, keeping the dough as cold as possible, rolling it out, throwing flour everywhere (oh wait, maybe that's just me), cutting out cookies and praying they don't rip as you move them to the cookie sheet, spooning in filling, topping with another cookie cutout and crimping the edges together with a fork. Whew! Granted, the original tastes amazing. But, let's face it (sorry Grammie Vera), I just don't have that kind of time in my life right now.


So, I made a shortcut. A healthier shortcut. I swapped out that awful shortening with a much healthier option - coconut oil - and use whole wheat pastry flour. I also cut the sugar a little and upped the milk to make the cookies more "drop cookie" friendly, so I can eliminate the need for a rolling pin.

I did add a more complex step that the original recipe did not call for.  To help the texture with the thumbprint filling, I pureed the mincemeat so you still get the flavor, but the mixture stays put in the thumbprint cookie and doesn't run everywhere and mess up your pretty thumbprint shape.

What's Mincemeat?

If you're not familiar with mincemeat, it's a really chunky (think a loose chutney) mix of spices, sugar, diced apples, and raisins. My mom's homemade recipe also included seeded, diced green tomatoes.

IT DOES NOT INCLUDE MEAT of any kind. Ew. Meat in cookies. Shudder.

Gettin' Down to Business

Ok, on to the recipe. If you love down home gingerbread or molasses cookies, I would encourage you to give these a try. And if you happen to be one of my family members, try this rendition on for size! I promise it tastes just as good as the original, but is better for you.

You're welcome.

Whole Wheat Molasses Thumbprint Cookies
by Raye
Prep Time: 15 minutes (+1 hr chill time)
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Keywords: bake cookie
Ingredients (30 cookies)
  • 1/4 c. butter, melted
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil, melted
  • 1-1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c. organic whole cane sugar, such as Rapadura or sucanat
  • 1/2 c. molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 2-3/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour (or white whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 c. mincemeat (see note)
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine coconut oil, butter, spices, sucanat and molasses. Beat in egg.
  • Whisk together baking soda, salt and flour. Add alternately with the milk to the molasses mixture. Chill for at least an hour.
  • After chilling, preheat the oven to 350*F. Portion dough and roll into approximately 1-1/2 inch balls. (1.25 oz each) Place on cookie sheets. Flour the bottom of a glass and press down on each ball to flatten it.
  • Press your thumb (or finger) into the dough twice to create a "V" (or heart shaped) indentation. Fill each indentation with about 1/2 tsp mincemeat. (If you prefer a smoother texture, puree the mincemeat first)
  • Bake at 350*F for 15 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the pan for 5 minutes. Move cookies to cooling rack.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to a week.
  • If you do not have Rapadura or sucanat, you may substitute dark brown sugar and reduce the milk to 1/4 c. (to compensate for the moisture content of your average brown sugar).
  • The mincemeat I'm referring to DOES NOT contain meat of any kind. It's a combination of chopped apples, raisins, and spices (some recipes also include chopped, seeded, green tomatoes). You can use homemade mincemeat in this recipe, or purchase a brand such as Nonesuch in supermarkets or online.
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