I'm in the habit of introducing these as "my famous ginger molasses cookies," though that might be giving credit where it's not entirely due. These cookies actually originated with a childhood best friend's family, and I've spent the better part of the last five years bribing and cajoling her for a copy of the recipe. Last year, she finally unearthed a faded and stain-splattered index card covered in hastily scrawled directions; I snapped a quick photo and rejoiced at having won a long-sought treasure.
All that fuss for cookies? Well, yes. These guys are redolent of winter spices, but most importantly, they're packed with butter and molasses — need I say more? If you do like a snap with your ginger, you can feel free to bake them for a little longer until they get that resonant crunch, but if you're like me, you keep these in the oven only until their faces just settle into those appealingly puggish wrinkles before whisking them out again. These cookies are best with just a touch of crispness around the edge that belies a gooey and tender interior.
While you never really need an excuse to eat these, I like these best as a postprandial snack, paired with either a mug of cocoa or a steaming cup of homemade mulled wine.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the white sugar, brown sugar, and butter with a paddle attachment. Beat at medium-low speed for 3-5 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Add the molasses in one addition and beat on medium-low speed until it is fully incorporated. Beat in each egg 1 at a time.
In a separate bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 4-5 additions, blending on low speed until completely incorporated and pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula between additions. The dough should be thick and heavy, but still workable. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
After the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a spoon or melon baller, scoop the dough and roll between your palms into a sphere shape (each cookie should be roughly the size of a golf ball). Try to roll the cookies quickly, so the butter in the batter doesn't begin to melt in your hands. After each cookie is shaped, roll briefly in a small bowl filled with sugar so that the cookie is covered. Place cookies 2 inches apart on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 8-12 minutes, baking for less time if you like your cookies gooey and soft and for more time if you like them crunchy and snappy. Remove from the oven and let cool for 3-5 minutes before moving with a spatula to a cooling rack. While it is best to let the cookies cool completely before eating them, that hot-from-the-oven meltiness might be worth the risk of burns.