With all of the endless horrors going on in the world right now, I, per usual, have channeled the stress and nervous energy I am feeling into cooking and baking. For me, it is quite meditative and relaxing and most importantly, creative. Now more than ever, it is so crucial to find creative outlets and forms of expression to offload and expel anxiety, negativity, pain. Cooking and baking are also pretty physical activities, and for me, it is essential that I exercise and move, especially as the weather is cooling down and it feels uncomfortable to go outside.
To me, these ginger molasses stars are a winter wonderland in cookie form. The layers of warm and cozy spices create a super complex and nuanced flavor which evenly spreads throughout every bite. Toasting the pecans releases more of the buttery pecan flavor which complements the maple glaze well.
Feel free to experiment with your extracts here. I personally love maple, but vanilla, almond, chocolate, rum, etc could all work beautifully.
With these cookies, the thicker you roll out the dough, the chewier the ginger molasses stars will be.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
for the cookies
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon finely ground pepper
- ½ cup (1 stick or 1/4 pound) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- ½ cup packed dark-brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup unsulfured molasses
for the glaze and topping
- 2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup
- 2-3 tablespoons half and half or milk
- 2 teaspoons maple extract
- ½ cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
Cookie dough steps
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, salt and pepper and set aside.
Beat the butter and brown sugar using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment or hand mixer until fluffy. Add in egg and molasses and beat until combined.
Slowly beat in the flour mixture until dough is evenly combined. Don’t overbeat.
Divide the dough into two and wrap separately in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out dough on a floured surface to about ⅓ of an inch thick and cut into star shapes. Bake for 10-12 minutes. They will be soft when you remove them from the oven but will solidify and become chewy once they cool.
Glaze and topping steps
Place confectioners sugar, corn syrup, half and half, and maple extract in a bowl. Whisk to thoroughly combine. Dip tops of stars into glaze, allowing the excess to drip off the sides.
Sprinkle with pecans and place on cooling rack until glaze dries and hardens.