Friday, December 21, 2012

chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies

This cookie is a delightful combination of chocolate and spice. I made some to share with friends and one commented, "I thought it was just a gingerbread cookie but then it had chocolate in it!" That surprise is what drew me to this cookie in the first place and I am very pleased the recipe did not disappoint.

Although, what was disappointing was the incredible mess I made with an old jar of molasses. While reading through the list of ingredients and flipping open cupboard doors to see what I already had, I discovered an ancient jar of molasses. Maybe it's the kind of thing that does not go bad, but I figured if I was going to be investing time and energy into making these cookies, it was worth springing the extra $3 for a new jar of molasses. I did so and blithely trashed the ancient jar. This is where things went downhill. Apparently the old jar broke open in my trash can, cut through the trash bag, and flooded the bottom of my trash can with sticky sticky molasses. Oh and it also found a crack in the seam of my trash can frame and seeped out onto my tile floor. I was alerted to this when my sweet puppy suddenly became obsessed with licking the grout around the trash can. Such. A. Mess.

But, my tale of woe aside, this is a great cookie and if you or someone you love has a thing for gingerbread, I would encourage you to try it out.

This recipe is from the book Martha Stewart's Cookies.

chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies

1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon freshly grated peeled ginger
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water
7 ounces best-quality semi-sweet chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch chunks (I substitute chocolate chips)
1/4 cup granulated sugar

1) Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2) In a bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and fresh ginger on medium speed until lightened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.

3) In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn into plastic wrap. Pat out to a 1-inch thickness; seal with wrap. Refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or overnight.

(please note: this dough is very very soft. Even after refrigerating, it will be pretty sticky and soft. I would not skimp on the chilling time.)

4) Preheat oven to 325. Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Chill 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar. (Don't you love cookies that are given a coating of sugar just before baking? The slightly crunchy crackly exterior is lovely.)

5) Bake until surfaces just begin to crack, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating halfway through. Let cool 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Cookies are best the day they are made, but can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 5 days.

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