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America’s Test Kitchen: If you’re looking for a new Christmas cookie recipe, this is the one you should try

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1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon table salt

12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened but still cool

1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar (about 2 1/2 ounces; 71 grams)

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup molasses (about 6 ounces; 170 grams), light or dark

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 1/2 cup sugar for dipping in an 8-inch or a 9-inch cake pan.

2. Whisk flour, baking soda, spices, and salt in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined; set aside.


3. In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter with brown and granulated sugars at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and add yolk and vanilla; increase speed to medium and beat until incorporated, about 20 seconds. Reduce speed to medium-low and add molasses; beat until fully incorporated, about 20 seconds, scraping bottom and sides of bowl once with rubber spatula.

4. Reduce speed to lowest setting; add flour mixture and beat until just incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping bowl down once. Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no pockets of flour remain at bottom. Dough will be soft.

5. Using tablespoon measure, scoop heaping tablespoon of dough and roll between palms into 1 1/2-inch ball; drop ball into cake pan with sugar and repeat to form about four balls. Toss balls in sugar to coat and set on a prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Repeat with remaining dough.

6. Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are browned, still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone), about 11 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking.

7. Cool cookies on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool cookies to room temperature and serve. (They can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container or zipper-lock plastic bag up to five days.)

(For 25 years, home cooks have relied on America’s Test Kitchen for rigorously tested recipes developed by professional test cooks and vetted by 60,000 at-home recipe testers. The family of brands — which includes Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country — offers reliable recipes for cooks of all skill levels. See more online at

©2023 America’s Test Kitchen. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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