There’s a time every spring semester — usually about now — when I become effectively brain-dead. Something about the combination of blossoming cherry trees and midterms renders me absent-minded and unable to think critically about anything other than how much I would like a nap. Or, alternatively, a drink.
Of course, that desire poses some problems, depending upon whether it’s four in the afternoon at my apartment on a Friday or four in the morning in Uris Library on a Sunday. Sometimes it’s not socially acceptable to indulge, and that’s okay. But there’s a loophole, friends: foods that contain alcohol. Or, actually: foods that once contained alcohol but don’t anymore, because it all gets cooked or baked out.
There exists a long tradition of delicious foods with various liquors as star ingredients — vodka sauce over pasta, beer-battered fish, coq au vin — but while delicious, none of these things is quick or portable enough to serve as a late-night snack for the library deviant. That’s where the cookies come into play.
I made these for the first time last semester around the winter holidays. They are ostensibly holiday cookies — as they bake, they fill the house with a warm, rich, spiced smell that is reminiscent of clichéd Christmas movies — but nobody at my apartment seemed to be too upset about their unseasonable return earlier this week. They are perfectly chewy, with a taste that is much less Christmas-y than their smell. The molasses saves them from being sickly sweet, and the rum complicates the spice flavor with a pleasant, mild acidity. I’ve found they pair particularly well with hot black tea. Also, I don’t know why this is, but they’re practically indestructible. I put a Ziploc full of them into my school bag on Monday, and when I pulled them out on Wednesday afternoon for a snack, they were still good as new. It’s not every baked good that withstands such careless treatment.
Anyway, these are great. There’s really nothing more to say. You should probably make them. I’d invent a pithy conclusion here, but remember what I said about being effectively brain-dead? Still true. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to eat cookies and sleep until the end of the semester.
Disclaimer: Neither I nor the Daily Sun condone underage consumption in any way. If you aren’t of age, remember that you (and anyone who buys you ingredients that you can’t procure legally!) can face consequences for making stupid decisions. Also, while the alcohol does bake out, I’ve never taken a breathalyzer or anything after eating these, so don’t devour twelve and then go drive a car, okay? Be a responsible cookie-eater. (I do know a guy who once almost got arrested for running a red light after having a particularly rum-soaked piece of tiramisu. Cautionary tales, kids.)
Spiced Molasses Rum Cookies
(adapted from TheKitchn)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger (alternatively, 2 teaspoons of fresh grated ginger would be a bit more exciting)
3/4 teaspoon cloves
3/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick butter, room temperature
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
2/3 cup molasses
6 tablespoons dark rum (spiced rum works best here, I’ve found)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add spices and mix. Add flour and baking soda and mix. Pour in molasses and rum, mix until dough forms. The dough should be fairly sticky.
Roll into golf-ball sized pieces and flatten slightly. Bake for about 12 minutes, until cookies set and are uniformly colored. Cool on parchment on a cooling rack, flipping them over so the bottom doesn’t stick, until they are cool enough to eat but still warm.