Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Chewy Molasses Ginger Cookies

I realize that I just posted about chewy cinnamon cookies ("just", of course, is an entirely relative term), so this might seem overkill with the whole chewy cookie thing, but these chewy molasses ginger cookies are an essential part of Christmastime cookie baking, so they're going up. Without a picture even, because I'm rushing the recipe out to you before I get a chance to make them again, though I've made them often.

I'm pretty picky about my cookies. I don't like making mediocre cookies (probably because I don't like making mediocre anything), so there needs to be something compelling about a cookie to make me fall in love. These were inspired by Zingerman's in Ann Arbor, which sells a cookie called ginger jump-ups. I found a recipe that reminded me of them in an issue of Cook's Illustrated some time ago, and this is my variation of that recipe, candied ginger being a significant portion of that. I really like all the spice in these cookies; they have a slightly unexpected bite that goes well with the dark flavor. A heavy dose of molasses keeps the cookies moist for a good long time (in case your holiday gift to the neighbor sits on their doorstep the whole weekend), and the ginger pops in your mouth. I love it! Don't chop it too finely, or you'll miss out on the delight of these cookies.

Note again about crystallized ginger: it's very easy to find in a small box in the Asian section of most grocery stores as well as in bulk spice sections.

To view a printable version of this recipe, click here.

Chewy Molasses Ginger Cookies

⅓ c. + ½ c. granulated sugar
2¼ c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
2 t. cinnamon
1-2 T. diced crystallized ginger
¼ t. ground cloves
¼ t. ground allspice
¼ t. salt
¼ t. fresh finely ground pepper
⅓ c. dark brown sugar
12 T. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 lg. egg yolk
1 t. vanilla extract
½ c. mild Brer Rabbit molasses

Preheat the oven to 375˚. Place ½ c. sugar for dipping in a shallow dish.

Whisk together flour, soda, ginger, and salt. Separately, beat together butter, ⅓ c. sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 min. Beat in yolk, vanilla, and spices, then molasses. Carefully add dry ingredients and beat until just mixed in.

Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough into palms, roll into balls, and drop into dipping sugar. Toss dough balls and set on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, 2” apart. Bake until browned but puffy. Edges will be slightly set but the center should be soft, about 11 min. Cool on sheet 5 min., then transfer to rack or counter to cool. Store in an airtight container.