Autumn again…; Orange Spiced Molasses Cookies (wheat and dairy free)

Cycling back from work this week I caught a scent on the breeze – bonfire smoke – a scent indicative of only one thing; Autumn is here. The air is crisp in the morning, it’s getting dark before 9pm, the woollen clothes which have been safely stored away for the summer now call out seductively from under the bed. On the one hand I’m sad; we’ve barely had a summer here this year, and I’m not ready for it to be over yet. But on the other hand I love Autumn; it is the harvest season, full of promise and the rewards. The particular blue of sky, the turning leaves, the drawing in of the nights is comforting and familiar. A wonderful variety of fruit and foragable goodies becomes available, and once again we can indulge in a bit of stodgy cold-weather food (I’ve already brought the slow cooker out from it’s summer retreat)! Autumn draws me to rich flavours and warm tones: stewed apple, cinnamon, ginger, treacle. And I recently came across the perfect Autumn biscuit: Orange Spiced Molasses Cookies 

They worked out very well, but in future I would add a bit of apple brandy too, or rum, and possibly a bit more apple sauce.

Image

Makes ~40

INGREDIENTS

ROLLING SUGAR

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest

COOKIE DOUGH

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 5 tablespoons butter alternative, softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
  • 1/2 cup light or dark molasses (I used treacle since it’s easier to get in the UK)
  • 7 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups wheat-free flour mix

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
  2. To prepare the rolling sugar: Pulse 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon orange zest in a food processor until well combined. Place in a shallow dish and set aside.
  3. To prepare cookie dough: Grind oats in a blender until they look like a fine powder, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping the sides as needed.
  4. Beat butter and 1/3 cup granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 5 minutes. Add brown sugar and 2 tablespoons orange zest and beat another 2 minutes. Add molasses, applesauce, egg yolk, vanilla, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, pepper and salt; beat on medium-high until incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.
  5. Turn the mixer to medium and slowly add the ground oats. Scrape down the bowl; with the mixer on medium, slowly add whole-wheat flour. (The dough will be moderately sticky.)
  6. Using a slightly rounded tablespoon of dough, roll into balls, then roll in the rolling sugar to coat. (If necessary, wet your fingers to help roll without sticking.) The zest will make the mixture slightly wet and it will clump; lightly brush off the excess so that just a thin coat is on the cookie. Place cookies about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Bake the cookies in batches until the edges are set and the tops are cracked, but the centers are still soft and puffy, about 10 minutes.
  8. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 8 minutes. Serve warm or cool on a wire rack.
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