I make an awful lot of sugar cookies. (I swear, I could make them in my sleep!) I make so many, in fact, that I rarely even think about making any other kind of cut-out cookie. When the recipe for these Chocolate-Ginger Cookies came through my inbox the other day, though, I just had to make them. The chocolate-ginger flavor combination really feels like fall, and I already had the adorable fall cookie cutters used in the photo on the Martha Stewart Web site.
I went into this thinking that I’d be able to mimic my sugar cookie routine with a different dough, but I had to change plans quickly; the dough is pretty soft. The downside of this is that I had to flour the heck out of my counter, the surface of the dough, and the rolling pin to make cutting and transferring the cookies possible. The upside, though (and it’s a big one!), is that the dough produces a very tender cookie. Here’s the recipe if you’d like to give it a try:
Makes 4 dozen
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (I left this out)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (I left this out)
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup dark unsulfured molasses
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
Sanding sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Whisk together flour, cocoa, spices, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
Cream butter and brown sugar on medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add egg, molasses, and grated ginger; mix until combined. Add flour mixture; mix on low speed until just combined.
Halve dough; flatten into two disks. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate 1 hour. Transfer disks, one at a time, to a lightly floured surface; roll out to 1/4 inch thick. (If dough gets soft, freeze until firm.) Use 3-inch acorn or leaf cookie cutters to make shapes; place 1 inch apart on sheets. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
Score designs with a knife; sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are firm, 11 to 13 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
Source: Martha Stewart Living, November 2004
- As you can see from the ingredient list, I left out the leavening agents. I find that cutout cookies tend to hold their shape better (especially at altitude) when I omit them.
- I was tempted to squeeze the moisture out of my grated ginger because it was pretty wet, but I didn’t. Baked goods usually benefit from a little extra moisture at altitude anyway.
- The recipe said to refrigerate the cookies for 20 minutes before baking, but I froze them for 20 minutes instead.
- I tried scoring the cookies with the designs both before and after freezing (I’m a rebel like that!). Scoring them after freezing definitely resulted in cleaner lines.
- My cookies were done in about 11 1/2 minutes per batch.
I still love sugar cookies the best, but these were pretty tasty. I liked the balance of ginger and chocolate, and I really enjoyed the light crunch of the sanding sugar. I’m not sure if the cookies were supposed to be tender (the Martha Stewart site indicated they’d be crisp), but mine certainly were. They weren’t soft in a flexible way – they held their shape perfectly – but they had such a delicate crumb. I’ll try this one again in December as gingerbread men.
Recipe link: Chocolate-Ginger Cookies