Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chewy Triple Ginger Cookies

Are you completely over cookies yet?  I have to admit that I just really started my holiday baking.  I'd made sausage balls and not-Chex mix, but as of this past weekend, I hadn't baked a single cookie yet.  But when I got home from a business trip, Vince asked if I would bake some cookies, as he'd signed up to bring some for his office's holiday potluck.  (He did say that we could just buy them, but where's the fun in that?!)  By Saturday evening, I'd made chocolatey Hello, Dollies and fruity shortbread thumbprint cookies, but didn't have anything spiced, which is pretty much mandatory at Christmas.

These aren't the traditional crunchy ones you cut out and decorate, but a chewy, richly spiced cookie.  The addition of both fresh and crystallized ginger gives these a kick that you don't get from a gingerbread man.

Chewy Triple-Ginger Cookies
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated and 101 Cookbooks via Forks, Fingers, Chopsticks

What's in them:

2 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup unsulphured molasses
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup large grain sugar, for finishing (optional)

How to make them:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Adjust racks – one in top 1/3 oven – second in bottom 1/3 oven.

Peel and grate fresh ginger, finely chop crystallized ginger, and set both aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda and salt.  Add crystallized ginger, separate if it clumps and stir to incorporate. Set this aside too.

In a small pot, over low heat, melt the butter.  When it has melted almost half way, turn off the heat and add the fresh ginger, brown sugar, molasses.  Combine with a whisk, stirring carefully.  The mixture should be warm to the touch, but not hot.  Add beaten egg and stir to incorporate.

Pour over flour mixture and stir until combined, being careful to not overwork the dough.

Shape dough into balls (1/2 tablespoon dough for small cookies, ~1 1/2"; 1 heaping tablespoon dough for 3").  Balls should be placed at least 2 inches apart for smaller cookies/ 3 inches for larger.  For a prettier cookie, coat each ball with large granule sugar before baking.

Bake for 8 to 9 minutes for small cookies; 10 to 12 for larger. Cookies are done when they have risen and cookies crack. Do not overbake; underbaking is better. Store in airtight container for about 1 week.

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