Are you tired of baking Christmas cookies yet?
I thought not, and unless you’re the sort who’s baked, wrapped, and stored all of your cookies by Thanksgiving, you’re still in ‘baking mode’. If you are tired of (or done with) baking cookies, then read no further. (But if you didn’t make these, I feel sorry for you.)
If you’re anything at all like me, there is still a dusting of flour on the kitchen floor. The aroma of spices and chocolate is masking the scent of wet Labrador Retriever (who is often lightly coated with sugar, owing to her habit of lying in wait under whatever surface I am working at), and you’re still pouring through magazines and blogs collecting new recipes to try.
So to those of you still baking—if you haven’t made these—I say…”What in the name of Saint Nicholas are you waiting for?!”
Go tie on that apron, fire up the mixer and your oven and get started! Even if you’re through with your holiday baking, someone you know is having a lousy day (maybe even you?) and these cookies will make it better. I promise.
With their sparkly, crunchy, crust and their spicy, chewy, center, these are a little bit of cookie heaven. In fact, they’re so wonderful, I think they may have been invented by angels!
They’re easy to make, and easily made vegan. They store well (if hidden well) and you can make the dough and keep it on-hand in the fridge—put it in the back…waaay in the back and labeled ‘beef- stock’ or something. Now you’ll have fresh-baked cookies whenever anyone drops by over the holidays.
Or whenever you really, really, really NEED a warm and spicy cookie.
Happy baking (and munching) to all!
(adapted from the blog “Will Cook for Friends”)
Makes about 5 dozen
*What you need:
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking soda
4 tsp ground ginger *
2 tsp ground cinnamon *
½ tsp ground nutmeg *
½ tsp ground allspice *
¼ tsp ground cloves *
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped *
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (these cookies can be vegan if you substitute an equal amount of non-dairy margarine)
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 cup unsulphured** molasses
1 (or more) cup coarse (sanding or raw) sugar, for rolling the balls of dough in
Crystallized ginger is much easier to chop if you put it in the freezer for a bit first.
*All of these ingredients would be very costly if you are buying them by the jar in the baking-spice section of your grocer. Instead, get the molasses there (I use good old ‘Brer Rabbit’, found with the syrups and sweeteners) and then wander over to the bulk bins, where you can find all of these spices already ground and costing only coinage instead of loads of the paper stuff! You can usually find crystallized ginger over by the dried fruit area of the bulk bins as well.
** Unsulphured means that the molasses is made from ripe sugarcane, and is untreated. Molasses made from unripe cane has sulfur dioxide added to ripen and preserve it, and sulfur isn’t a good thing to eat.
What to do:
1. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Add the the chopped crystallized ginger, breaking up any clumps.
2. In a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, thoroughly cream together the butter and brown sugar. Pour in the molasses and beat well.
3. Gently mix in the dry ingredients until just combined. This is best done by hand to ovoid over-mixing. The dough should be thick and rather sticky. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap large enough to fold back over itself. Pat the dough into a thick disc. Wrap it up and refrigerate until firm, at least 1-2 hours. (I’ve kept this dough for a week.)
4. When the dough is firm enough to handle, tear off small chunks (walnut sized), and roll each into a ball. Next, roll each ball in the coarse sugar, and return to the fridge to keep cool. The rolled cookies can be stored in the fridge, or frozen in an airtight container, for future baking.
5. Preheat oven to 325f. Place the chilled balls of dough onto a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet. Space them 1 ½” apart, as they will flatten completely. Bake on the middle rack for 10-12 minutes. If you bake them a minute or so longer, they will be even crisper. Let them cool 3-4 minutes on the baking sheet before removing them to a wire rack. ( Right when I take them out, I sprinkle them with a bit more of the coarse sugar, for extra crunch and sparkle.) Once they’re completely cool, they can be stored airtight for several days, or frozen for even longer. Just be sure to hide them!