Monday, December 6, 2010
Chewy Chocolate GIngerbread Cookies
Just as soon as Thanksgiving is over, I start my holiday baking. It's a real project for me. I have it down to a science, though, I think. Each day, I'll make up one or two types of cookie dough, which I will then chill in my fridge. Then, each day I will bake off whatever dough I already have chilling in the fridge. It's a great system. Then, I haul out my Sam's Club industrial-size roll of saran wrap, and I wrap my cooled cookies, two or three at a time, and place them into large freezer bags. To date, I have yet to find a cookie that did not freeze well. So I stack my freezer bags as high as I can, filled with many different varieties of cookies. It's awesome, because I can bake them all way ahead of time. Then, when it comes time to dole them out, I can remove only what I need from the freezer, and the rest stay safely inside until it's their time to be eaten. Only problem I have now is that I'm running out of room! Something tells me Santa should be thinking about bringing me a second freezer!
But this post today is actually about these Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies, not my lack of storage space. I discovered these cookies last holiday season, although they were gobbled up so fast they never made it onto my cookie trays. They are the cover model on the Martha Stewart's Cookies book, and they're quite extraordinary.
At first, they seem like just an average gingersnap or molasses cookie. Then, you add in a sprinkle of cocoa powder, a healthy grating of fresh ginger in addition to ground ginger, and some chopped semisweet chocolate. Finally, you roll each ball of dough in sugar before baking. The result is a cross between a molasses cookie and a chocolate crinkle cookie, but really it tastes like something all its own.
I love the pairing of ginger and chocolate, although I guess I never realized it until I tried this cookie. There's just something about the sharp bite of ginger up against the smooth, darkly sweet chocolate that is just so indescribably delicious. If you want to get people talking about your cookies this holiday season, making them a batch of these is a great way to do so!
Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
from Martha Stewart's Cookies
makes 24-36 cookies
1 1/2 cups plus 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 Tbsp. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp. freshly grated peeled ginger
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. boiling water
7 oz. best-quality semisweet chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch chunks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 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.
2. 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 onto plastic wrap. Pat out to a 1-inch thickness; seal with wrap. Refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Chill 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar. 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.