Ginger Cookies

I love ginger cookies.  They’re my favorite of the holiday cookies.  One might wonder then why I can never find the recipe.  Who knows.  But I can’t.  Every year I end up using a recipe close to the one I used when I first discovered these, but not the one.  One of the most charming things about these cookies is that they’re so cute.  They’re perfectly round and have a lovely sugar crackle on the top.  Every time.  And the dough freezes beautifully so whether you bake them or give the frozen dough these make a lovely gift.

This year I found a Barefoot Contessa recipe to try.  As you might expect this recipe is slightly more involved than other similar ones that I’ve tried.  You have to beat this batter a long time, comparatively speaking.  It’s not a big deal if you have a stand mixer, but I don’t think it makes any difference in the flavor or texture of the cookie.  Honestly this recipe just seems a little pretentious to me.

I’ve made two batches of this because it doesn’t make very many if you’re planning to give some away.  The cookies are very good.  They have a little bite to them which I really like in a ginger cookie.  And the sugar on the outside is a little crunchy while the inside is soft.  I bet these are much, much better if you include the crystallized ginger that the recipe calls for, but I didn’t have any and it’s too rainy to make a Penzey’s run. In fact I didn’t have any ground ginger either so I used the minced ginger in a jar and doubled the amount from the original recipe. My changes are reflected in the recipe that appears below. Use the link to see the original.

A couple of helpful hints.  The dough is really sticky.  I find that it’s a LOT easier to roll into balls if you chill it before you try to work with it.  A couple of hours will do, but overnight won’t hurt it at all.  Also, this is a cookie you have to be careful about over baking.  Because the dough is dark you won’t be able to see any browning and by the time you smell it, it will be too late.  Stick closely to the time table and err just a touch on the side of too short rather than too long in the oven.

Good? Yes. Nice holiday spice.
Easy? Sure, it’s just cookie dough.
Good for company? Lovely with tea, cocoa and coffee.
Special shopping? Crystallized ginger if you choose to use it.

Ginger Cookies

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
Granulated sugar, for rolling the cookies

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt and then combine the mixture with your hands. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the brown sugar, oil, ginger and molasses on medium speed for 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to low speed, add the egg, and beat for 1 minute. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat for 1 more minute. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the crystallized ginger and mix until combined.

Cover the dough and chill it two hours or overnight.

Scoop the dough with 2 spoons or a small ice cream scoop. With your hands, roll each cookie into a 1 3/4-inch ball. Roll each cookie in granulated sugar and place them on the sheet pans. Bake for exactly 13 minutes. The cookies will be crackled on the top and soft inside. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

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