2 1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground 5-spice
1/4 tsp finely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
12 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1/3 c. packed dark brown sugar
1/3 c. granulated sugar, plus 1/2 c. for rolling
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup molasses
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line large baking sheet with parchment.
In medium bowl whisk flour, baking soda, spices, pepper and salt. Either by hand or with electric mixer, beat the butter with brown sugar and 1/3 c. granulated sugar at medium high speed until light and fluffy (about 3 min.) Reduce speed to medium low and add yolk and vanilla, increase speed and beat until incorporated (about 20 seconds). Reduce speed and add molasses beat until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping the bottom and sides once with rubber spatula. Reduce speed to lowest setting and add flour mixture and beat until just incorporated, scraping the bowl once. Give the dough a final stir by hand to ensure no flour pockets at bottom. (dough will be soft).
Place 1/2 c. sugar in shallow bowl for rolling. Roll a heaping Tbsp. of dough into scant ball. Drop ball in sugar and roll to coat. Set on prepared baking sheet at least 2 inches apart.
Bake about 11 min. (cookies will "crack", edges are puffy and inside of cracks look raw). Do not overbake. Cool on baking sheet ofor 5 mins. and trasfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.
Adapted from the blog, Good Things Catered and America's Test Kitchen