Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gifting Gingerbread

I'm sure you haven't noticed, but it's been a long time since I did a foodie post! Trust me that it's not because I haven't been eating great things, it's more that I have been devouring them before I have the notion to record and publish. Last night, I got back on track. I'd been thinking for a while about what I wanted to bake for my co-workers as holiday gifts. My original thought was whoopie pies - ginger cookies with lemon filling and pumpkin cookies with cream cheese filling, to be exact. I did my research, found my recipes, and then realized that I have 10 co-workers, to whom I would want to give three whoopie pies apiece, meaning that I'd be making 60 cookies and filling. Achieving this after work one night the week before I leave town seemed like a recipe for disaster, so back to the drawing board I went. I was committed to something gingerbread and when I stumbled upon Martha's Chewy Chocolate-Gingerbread Cookies, I knew it would be love at first bite. Blessed with a free night and leftovers for dinner, I set to work to make a double batch.

Batter and chocolate madness

Sugary dough balls with ginger garnish
Sampling the first batch
Gifts for the office

Recipe, *adapted from Martha:
(Single batch, as seen below, makes 30 cookies)

7 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar
30 pieces of crystallized ginger

- Grease two baking sheets. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
- Beat butter until soft. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.
- In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. 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.
- Heat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and flatten, roll in granulated sugar, add crystallized ginger pieces, place 2 inches apart on baking sheets.
- Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

*I omitted the fresh grated ginger and cocoa that the original recipe calls for, and added crystallized ginger pieces to the top of each cookie before baking.

When I first looked at this recipe and its accompanying comments, I was a little intimidated. Being a novice myself, the idea of experienced bakers considering this to be a difficult recipe made me think that it would be a circus for me. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised by how manageable the recipe was, and how delicious the cookies turned out. You can quote me on this - they were some of the best cookies I've ever had. Insanely sweet and ridiculously chocolaty, I would probably cut down on the sugar and even some of the chocolate to let the ginger sing a little more. That being said, chocolate chunks are far superior to chocolate chips, and despite the extra effort in chopping them up, I would choose them again and again. In other words, get out your supplies and make these cookies! Your taste buds and tummy with thank you.

P.S. Remember how I was trying to avoid making 60 cookies by skipping the whoopie pies? I made 59 chewy chocolate-gingerbread cookies last night. I guess it was meant to be.



  1. And they were DELICIOUS!!! I was wondering what the heck the little things in the middle were. Yummm ginger!

  2. Thanks, girlfriend! Glad you enjoyed them :)


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