I never really understood the joy in making gingerbread houses. You always end up with royal icing in your hair, the structure never turns out the way you want it, you decorate it with gross candy like gum drops and those gross cinnamon buttons/imperials, and you don't want to eat it when you are done because 1) you just spent hours putting it together, 2) it doesn't taste good, and 3) a ton of hands and licked fingers were all over that thing, so... ew. Just call me the Grinch.
Don't get me wrong, though. I love the taste of gingerbread. I don't love the super hard, break a molar gingerbread of the olden days, but I really enjoy a good gingersnap, or a soft and chewy ginger cookie. A nice spice kick with a hint of that dark molasses... yum! I felt like I couldn't step away from this year's Cookiemas without some sort of ode to the gingerbread man, so that's where today's recipe is taking us.
Instead of a giant scoop of ground ginger, I decided to impart some of that classic flavor with crystallized ginger. There is still plenty of molasses to keep the cookie dark, rich, and chewy so traditionalists rejoice! The crystallized ginger adds more flavor, a touch more sweetness, and a nuance of texture to this cookie. While I wouldn't recommend building a house out of these, I do think these will stand up to even the pickiest of gingerbread lovers.
The Recipe: Crystallized Ginger Molasses Cookies
yields ~3 dozen cookies
The Bits and Bobs:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
pinch black pepper, fresh cracked preferred
3/4 tsp salt
12 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup crystallized ginger pieces, chopped
sugar or turbinado sugar for rolling
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and the molasses and beat until just combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients to evenly disburse the spices. Slowly add to the butter/molasses mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Add the chopped ginger and pulse until distributed throughout the dough. Wrap the bowl tightly and allow to rest in the fridge for an hour or so. You are just looking for them to firm up a bit so they are easier to shape.
After an hour, preheat the oven to 375*F and line your baking sheet(s) with parchment paper or a silpat. Pour the extra sugar/turbinado sugar to a bowl or small plate. Roll roughly a tablespoon of the dough between your hands, then press into the sugar, making sure to coat both sides. You should for each ball into a disc shape and line the baking sheet, leaving roughly 2 inches between cookies.
Bake for 9-10 minutes or until the cookies' edges are firm and the centers are most of the way set. Allow to rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.