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.


Anonymous said...

Does this mean you're making these and I get to eat some when I get home on Friday?

Rachel said...

We'll see. Don't get your hopes up. :)

Anonymous said...

i pretty much bake ALL cookies on a baking stone. is that bad?

Rachel said...

As long as your baking stone is thoroughly preheated to the right oven temperature, that works. If you're pulling the stone out all the time to put the cookies on it and letting it sit out for 5 minutes or so, the stone will cool down, and the bottom won't get the right kind of toasty. That means you'll have to bake the cookies until the top is more set, which also means overbaking them in my book. If the bottoms get nicely browned, you can pull the cookies out before they're completely set and let them do some residual baking on the baking sheet before removing them, giving you a moist interior. Unless your baking stone is really thin, and then it probably doesn't matter.

But then again, if you always bake on a baking stone and like it, you're probably just fine. Probably.

Jonnie J said...

These cookies are really good. Especially after hiking a couple thousand vert in the backcountry. Thanks to Mark a couple of these fueled me up enough to finish the day off over at Snowbird. Very tasty!

Tom said...

But how close are they to the Zingerman Jump Ups? From the picture they're a much lighter color - how do they compare in terms of taste?

Just curious. Since we moved from Ann Arbor, I've really been missing those cookies ;).

Rachel said...

TomA - the picture is deceiving. They're actually much darker than they look here, though maybe not as dark as Zingerman's. I would say they're reminiscent of the ginger jump-ups, though not identical. I don't think Zingerman's cookies are full of all these extra spices, either, but I really like these. If you're a fan of the ginger, make sure you leave your pieces good-sized.

You should try least it's less expensive than placing a catalog order. :)

Unknown said...

Zingermams uses caramel coloring to achieve the dark color of their cookies.they also use Demerara dark sugar wich is high quality unprocessed dark sugar. The spices listed in there cookies are ground ginger, cinnamon ,and clove.they use only King Arthur flour for all their baked goods. AP flour

Have you viewed Alaska Fishing Lodges site info said...

Excellent flavor. The sugary surface is nice to bite into and the crystallized ginger adds wonderful texture. But the overall cookie was a bit soft and more like ginger bread rather than a snap. Maybe I need to cook them a bit longer next time. There WILL be a next time!