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Soft Molasses Cookies + Molasses Whoopie Pies

Soft Molasses Cookies or Molasses Whoopie Pies

Adapted from the Family Favorites From Country Kitchens cookbook

Makes about 6 dozen cookies or 3 dozen whoopie pies

COOKIES:
3/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
3 eggs
1 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups flour, sifted
1 cup white chocolate chips

FROSTING: (only if you are making whoopie pies)
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease several cookie sheets.

2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and the brown sugar together until the texture becomes light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating the batter well after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla.

3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the molasses and the baking soda.  Add to the creamed mixture in the large mixing bowl.  Stir in the flour 1/2 cup at a time.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the greased cookie sheets.

4. Bake in the oven for 8 minutes, or until the edges start to brown.  Remove the cookies from the oven and immediately move the cookies to a cooling rack with a thin spatula.  Let the cookies cool completely.

5. When the cookies have cooled completely, melt the white chocolate chips in a double boiler.* Pipe the melted chocolate onto the cooled cookies in whatever design you desire.  Let the chocolate harden.  Stop here for regular soft molasses cookies, or continue with steps 6 and 7 to make molasses whoopie pies.

6. Now make the frosting.  In a medium bowl, combine the butter, cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla.  Beat the mixture together until it is smooth and creamy.

7. Spread the flat side (bottom) of one of the cookies with a generous amount of frosting.  Top with another cookie, pressing down gently to distribute the frosting evenly.  Repeat with all of the cookies.

* How to melt chocolate in a double boiler: Place a glass or metal bowl over a pan of hot but not boiling water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Place the chocolate chips in the bowl. As the chocolate starts to melt, stir it occasionally to mix the unmelted pieces into the melted chocolate. When it is completely melted the chocolate should have a smooth glossy texture. Do not allow any water or steam to get into the melting chocolate because this can cause it to seize or harden.