Spicy Molasses Cookies

cookies and spices

These cookies use teff flour for earthy flavor, molasses for tasty "bigness" and unique spices for subtle but distinctive "Tongue tingle".  

Yield:  Approximately ten, one-ounce cookies..
Time to make: 45 minutes active.  17 minutes oven dwell..
Tools needed:  Spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Whisk. Power mixer. Spatula. 2 medium bowls. One large, shallow bowl. Sheet pan or cookie pan. Baker's parchment. Measuring cups and spoons, or scale. 


3/4 cup (100 grams) dark or ivory teff flour
3 Tablespoons (20 grams) tapioca starch
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds (see instructions)
1/2 teaspoon ground Szechuan peppercorns or to taste (see instructions)
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (90 grams) granulated sugar, divided
1 Tablespoon (14 grams) dark brown sugar
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened slightly
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons molasses
1 large egg yolk


Szechuan peppercorns are known for their lip-numbing qualities. For those enjoying spicy foods, you can double or triple the amount of peppercorns specified.


1) Heat oven to 375 F. Line a cookie sheet or sheet pan with bakers parchment. Place 1/2 cup (60 grams) of granulated sugar in the shallow bowl.

2) Measure the following into a medium bowl: The teff flour, the tapioca starch, the xanthan gum, the ground cinnamon and the salt. Crack the cardamom pods in a mortar and pestle, extracting the seeds and discarding the green husk. (If using pre-ground cardamom, disregard). Pound cardamom and Szechuan peppercorns in the porter and pestle until pulverized. Alternatively, reduce to a powder in a spice grinder. Add to the flour mixture and whisk to mix thoroughly.

3) Place the butter, the remaining granulated sugar and the brown sugar in a second medium bowl. Cream together on medium speed until slightly pale and feathery. Stop and scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Add the egg yolk and vanilla snd mix until well-combined. Add the molasses and mix until well combined. Add the flour mixture and, using low speed, combine.

4) Wet hands with water and pull off 2-Tablespoon-sized balls of dough, roll to form a ball, and toss in the sugar that is in the large shallow bowl. Dough is very soft, so this is easier if the bowl is shaken and swirled, rather than your fingers poking the ball. Space the balls out on the prepared baking pan, leaving 2 inches on each side.

5) Bake the cookies for 13 - 18 minutes, rotating once, until they are rich brown with a slightly cracked surface. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature before putting onto a serving plate.

These cookies are good for several days.