December 12, 2011

Soft and chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies

I think these cookies are pretty special...and perfect for Christmas time.  Even if you don't like gingerbread cut-outs (like me), you might enjoy these.  They're essentially gingerbread chocolate chunk cookies - kind of like chocolate chip cookies with plenty of spice.  One of the things I like most about these is the texture.  The outside is just a bit crunchy thanks to a last minute coating in granulated sugar before baking.  The inside is soft and chewy, best eaten while they're still a little warm from the oven (or heated in the microwave).
These cookies are front and center on the cover of Martha Stewart's Cookies book.  I could hardly resist trying the cover cookie recipe of this book dedicated to cookies.  So I made these last Christmas and we oohed and aahed over them a little because they're different from other cookies we've had.  These have plenty of kick from typical gingerbread spices - and extra special with the use of both fresh and ground ginger -  but the texture and even taste is reminiscent of the more familiar chocolate chip cookie thanks to a little bit of cocoa powder and lots of chocolate chunks in the dough. 
I'll gladly make these every Christmas.

These chocolate gingerbread cookies are a tad bit more work than some cookie recipes but worth it.  Make the dough ahead of time since it needs to chill out in the fridge for a couple hours or overnight. 

As with other gingerbread cookies, there are plenty of spices.  Ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg are all sifted, together with the flour.  Then things start to get interesting with the addition of a tablespoon of cocoa powder.
One of the most unique things about this recipe is the use of fresh ginger.  You hardly hear of that but it really works and brings out the fresh flavor.  Grate one tablespoon of fresh ginger and add that to a stick of butter, beating the two together for a few minutes.
After the ginger and butter are well mixed together, brown sugar and molasses are next. 
And here's another interesting little step: dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water.  I wish I knew the precise reason why this is done but I don't!  Then, to the batter, add the flour in 2 intervals, beating in the baking soda mixture in between.
Last step, stir in 7 ounces of chopped semi-sweet chocolate chunks.
Turn the dough out onto plastic wrap.  Pat to about a 1 inch thickness.  Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight, until the dough is firm enough to roll.
I've been making a lot of cookie dough in the evening and baking them off the next day.  When you're ready to bake, remove the dough from the fridge and roll dough into about 1 1/2 inch round balls.  Chill the rounds for about 20 minutes.
Don't skip this next step: roll the dough balls in granulated sugar.  This creates not only a nice-looking shiny coating but gives the cookies a lovely crunch on the outside that contrasts so well with the soft, chewy center.
The cookies bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for just 10-12 minutes until they just begin to crack on top (don't over bake). 
They're really good...and probably best (like most cookies) eaten warm from the oven or at least the same day they're baked.  They can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days, in which case I recommend warming them up for a handful of seconds in the microwave before eating.
It's always nice to pack a few up for a friend.
These are Martha's favorite holiday cookies and I can absolutely see why.


Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
From Martha Stewart's Cookies book; also available here

- Approximately 2 dozen cookies -

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 freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon freshly grated peeled ginger
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water
7 ounces best-quality semi-sweet chocolate, cut into 1/4 chunks
1/4 cup granulated sugar

In a bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and fresh ginger on medium speed until lightened, about 4 minutes.  Add brown sugar, beating until combined.  Add molasses; beat until combined (scraping bowl as needed).

In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in boiling water.  Beat half of the flour mixture into butter mixture.  Beat in baking soda mixture, then the remaining half of the flour mixture.  Mix in chocolate.  Turn cookie dough out onto plastic wrap.  Pat dough into a 1-inch thickness and seal with wrap.  Refrigerator until firm, 2 hours or overnight.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls.  Place 2 inches apart on prepared sheets.  Chill for 20 minutes.  Roll dough balls in granulated sugar.  Bake until surfaces just begin to crack, about 10-12 minutes, rotating halfway through.  Let cool 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely (although I like to eat them while they're slightly warm). 

Cookies are best the day they're made but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.  (I like to warm them in the microwave slightly before eating.) 


  1. This was amazing. My dad is extremely picky but he loves these! My only question would be if I could make them gluten free? Thanks!!! AMAZING COOKIES.

    Have you viewed Fishing Lodges Alaska click here

    1. No, I've never tried a gluten free version...



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