Gingerbread Chocolate Cookies

December 21, 2009

This post was written by Sarah of SmartBitches.

Every year, I make these cookies for Hubby. They’re labor-intensive and include putting the cookie dough in the fridge not once but twice, plus boiling water and grating ginger and whacking the crap out of some chocolate and yet they are so freaking good it’s worth it all. And he loves them. So some time ago I promised I’d make him these cookies every year for Hanukkah (one year I saved extra dough and cooked them for his birthday in July and thought he’d cry with joy he was so happy). So since it was the very last day of Hanukkah, I made the cookies in the nick of time.

Here’s a look at the source of the recipe, which you can read here. Get a load of that vintage Martha action, eh? Doesn’t even look like herself. This originally printed in 1997, but was reprinted in the “Best of” issue I saved. I have this theory that there’s one step in every Martha Stewart recipe that insures the recipe you make doesn’t come out like hers, but this one is pretty damn spiffy. So let’s get started.

Gross, right? It’s grated ginger, raw. I usually buy a few ginger roots, and stick them in the freezer. I find them much easier to work with partially frozen. Scrape the outside skin off with a vegetable peeler, get the box grater, and off you go. You need a LOT for this recipe.

I’m reprinting the recipe below but trust me on this: while you grate the ginger, boil water for this tiny amount of leavening that goes into the cookie. Otherwise you wait there and are like, “I’m waiting for a tablespoon of water and a half to boil? I could eat this dough now!” Then you do. Then you feel ill. Trust me on this. Boil early.

Now it’s time for My Venture Capitalist™ to hook me up with smell-o-vision for the internet because OH MY HEAVENS it’s the sweetest smelling flour mixture in the world.

There’s flour, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cocoa powder and cinnamon up in there. Go on, scratch the screen of your computer and have a whiff.

Once you whisk it together, it’s even BETTER.  Seriously, it’s the best smelling dry ingredients on earth. Which is matched only by the wet ingredients for this recipe.

You start off with an ENTIRE STICK of butter, and the grated ginger, and mix that mess until it’s all white and creamy. Then you add brown sugar, which is always yummy.

Then you add molasses.

Now, I couldn’t get a pic of this part, but here’s a tip: when working with molasses, especially in a measuring cup, spray the cup with nonstick cooking spray. Saves a LOT of time on cleanup.

So once the molasses, brown sugar, and butter and ginger are all happy together, you add some of the sweetest smelling flour mixture in the world, some baking soda that’s dissolved in boiling water, and then more of the sweetest smelling flour mixture in the world.

Then the chocolate chips.

Then your stand mixer starts cursing at you because this batter is like molding clay.

Then, you get this pile of awesome.

There’s no raw egg in there – have some! Seriously, it’s delicious and you want to start the baking right away, but no. NO. It’s goes in the fridge. DAMMIT. So wrap up that dough and shove it in the fridge and try not to think about it. (Good luck with that.)

Then, it’s fun time! Take that cold dough out, run your hands under cold water and dry them so they get nice and chilly too, and start rolling little cookie balls.

Then, put the naked cookie balls on a cookie sheet and… put them back in the fridge! Yes! Because they’ll bake in there! No, I’m kidding. Back in the chilly they go. Then, you take them out and roll them in sugar. THEN… you bake them!

They cook for 10-12 minutes, but watch carefully. It’s really easy to burn the bottoms, and that just sucks.

This is what you’re going for: slightly cracked on the top, and spread out a good bit.

They are delicious.

They are chewy.

They are impossible to keep around because you just eat them one after another. Good thing I only make them once a year.

Now, I’m going to include the recipe below, but please note: like that annoying guy who yells all the time about kicking it up a notch, or the guy from Home Improvement who always grunted about “More power!” I like to jack up my spices to “Damn, we need to buy ginger already?”

I love more spices. So kick it up a notch and add more power and let heaping spoonfuls of the measurements below be your guide.

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, circa 1997

7 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger (*PLEASE. 1.5 teaspoons is perfectly fine*)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (*HEAP THAT BABY HEAP IT HIGH!*)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (*CLOVES ARE YOUR FRIENDS. TRY nearly 1/3 tsp or more!*)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (*PAH. HEAPING 1/4 is good for everyone!*)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder (*YOU GET THE PICTURE, RIGHT?*)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (Since I grate it frozen, it gets mucky and packs in tight. Adds heat to cookie so beware!)
1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Line two baking sheets with parchment or use Wearever baking sheets and don’t use the parchment at all. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks; set aside. Grate ginger while water is boiling for baking soda part (below).

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa. Stick your nose in the bowl and breathe deeply. You might want to dab some behind your ears.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and grated ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Spray measuring cup for molasses with a bit of nonstick spray and then add molasses; beat until combined.

In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. See? Boiling water and you need 1.5 tsp. Go ahead and use the microwave until it’s holy cow hot – works just as well. Just don’t let it cool off and get all gritty and cruddy on the bottom.

Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more. (OH THE AGONY.)

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. (AAAAAAAYYYYYYYYIIIIIIIIEEEEEE!!!!!)

Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. BEGIN NOM like NOMMING HAS NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE.

Enjoy – happy eating!

All recipes at a glance: