Gingerbread Cookies

As is my usual tradition, every Christmas, I make a whole slew of cookies.  One of my absolute favorites, are the gingerbread.  Now, I know gingerbread cookies get some bad PR, ginger and molasses are rough ingredients for a sweet, but there is still something entirely captivating about a spicy chewy gingerbread cookie.  I have tried several recipes over the years, hoping to find one that lives up to all of my gingerbread expectations.  Sadly, many of them were acceptable, but otherwise unremarkable.  That changed this year.  I found a recipe at the Brown Eyed Baker, and wow.  These are fantastic cookies.  The trick really is the equal parts cinnamon and ginger.  Most recipes have a spice ratio that is heavily skewed toward the ginger.  Upping the cinnamon really reinforces the spicy heat of ginger and lets the sweetness of the molasses really shine through.

A note on the recipe: The original called for all AP flour, but I was out when I made these (oops!). I used a 2:1 mixture of bread and cake flour, and it worked fantastically, so I think I may just keep that change.  Also, I forgot to add the last ounce of butter (oops again!) and they still turned out great.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (dark would be better, but I used light and it was fine)
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon (I used the Penzey’s cinnamon blend)
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 6 oz butter, cut into pieces and softened slightly
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tbsp milk

Method

Mix the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor with the steel blade in place. Add in the butter, and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse corn meal.  With the processor running, slowly pour in the milk and molasses and combine until a dough forms.  You may need to scrape down the sides and bust apart a large dough ball to get an even mix at this point.  Pause the processor and poke it if it looks like it needs it.  At this point, you have a couple of options.  You need to chill the dough, so you can either roll it thin between parchment, and put it in the freezer, or just slide it in a plastic zip top bag and stash it in the fridge.  If you have several hours or days, fridge is the way to go.  If you need cookies NOW, freeze it for 10-15 minutes.

Once your dough is chilled, and you’re ready to make cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whenever I roll out cookies, I use a mixture of 1:1 flour and confectioners sugar to flour the board.  You keep things from sticking, and your cookies don’t end up super floury.  It’s a win-win.  So, if you want chewy cookies, roll the dough to 1/4″ thick, use your favorite cookie cutters and place on a parchment, or baking mat lined tray.  (Now, you don’t HAVE to use Star Wars cookie cutters, but wouldn’t it be better if you did?)

Gingerbread cookies 2

Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool on tray for a few minutes then remove to cooling rack until room temperature.  At this point you can decorate, or just consume with gleeful abandon.

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