Upon walking into my kitchen, one might assume I own a bakery, or a small batch pop up cookie shop at the very least. In truth, I don't even particularly care for baking. There's too much precision for my taste, not enough improvisation. I prefer to invent as I go, creating with what's on hand, an ad hoc sensibility. Baking issues aside, I do love cookies and I will go against my better judgement and actually follow recipes and properly measure out ingredients to achieve optimal results. As far as holiday cookies go, I'm actually not a fan of many of them, particularly ones that call for ginger. I do, however, love the look of gingerbread cookies, and was craving something similar, only sans ginger. Seems impossible, but it's not! I did a bit of research, and with molasses being the primary ingredient of gingerbread [and the basis behind that gorgeous warm brown shade], I stumbled upon this recipe for chewy molasses spice cookies.
OPERATION: MOLASSES COOKIE. I find myself in these spectacular moods to bake, and then promptly attack the kitchen, not entirely sure if I even have all the appropriate ingredients. This was such a case of attack and ask questions later. I had completely ran out of [not even a tablespoon!] of all purpose flour and had forgotten to pick up more on my last grocery run. How can one make cookies WITHOUT FLOUR?!! Of course, running out to pick some up seemed entirely out of the question [don't ask me why]. After poring over my pantry and cupboards, I managed to come across a few cups of cake flour. Now the question is, can you use cake flour interchangeably with AP flour?
The answer is no, but possibly [at least in my brief experimentation] yes. Every source I read [in reference to cookie baking] said no, that because there is less protein in cake flour [due to the addition of cornstarch] the cookie consistency would be adversely affected. Cookie anatomy is really quite riveting I'm sure [rolls eyes]. Stubborn me wanted to give it a try anyway, and went ahead and baked this recipe, only making that one change to the flour. By all accounts, the cookies came out uniformly round and flat, and appeared to look just like the website's recipe photos. I found them best warm and freshly out of the oven, but I've placed them in airtight plastic containers, and a couple days in, they're still perfectly chewy and soft, with just a bit of a bite. Flavor wise, they're not overly sweet, and the combination of molasses, cinnamon and nutmeg adds a nice complexity to a standard holiday cookie.
If you're not a fan of that deep, molasses flavor, you may not care for these. But then again, you probably wouldn't like gingerbread or anything remotely similar to this anyway! I just had a friend who loves gingerbread try the cookie, and she was surprised to find there wasn't ginger in this recipe, since it does have a very similar taste to the iconic Christmas cookie. If I'm being perfectly honest, I imagine this cookie being made more amazing with a drizzle of cream cheese icing, or even worse, an oreo-like situation sandwiching two cookies between a reasonable portion of cream cheese frosting. I did pick up some cream cheese [and the aforementioned and ever essential all purpose flour] at the grocery yesterday, so I may have to test this theory out and let you know the results!