November 24, 2009
Well, it's almost Thanksgiving...which to many of us, really just means that we can officially begin the countdown to Christmas! Funny how that happens -- how when you start thinking turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, the streets are instantaneously lined with Christmas lights and every store is suddenly playing Christmas carols.
Anyway, despite the pre-holiday festivities, AC and I weren't quite feeling the Christmas spirit yet. Is it because we're getting old? Perhaps. Is it because it's still mid-November and sunny, and way too early to even begin thinking about Christmas? Probably. But really, I like to think it's because we hadn't baked these cookies yet ;)
If these cookies don't get you in the holiday spirit, I don't know what will! Part of their glory is baking them, which produces this delicious aroma of spiced cloves and gingerbread that literally warms up your entire home. I seriously felt like running out to get our Christmas tree while they were in the oven. Soft, spicy, slightly chewy, and not too molassesy -- these are the perfect cookies for winter. And bonus points to the little bits of crystallized ginger in it, which yield a chewy consistency without overwhelming the rest of the flavor.
We made these for a dear friend and her family, who are facing a tougher Thanksgiving than usual. If only cookies could save the world, right?
Ginger Spice Cookies
Adapted from Bon Appetit, March 2000
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1/4 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses
Combine first 6 ingredients in medium bowl; whisk to blend. Mix in crystallized ginger (chop in food processor with dry ingredients). Using electric mixer, beat brown sugar and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add egg and molasses and beat until blended. Add flour mixture and mix just until blended. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter 2 baking sheets. Spoon sugar in thick layer onto small plate. Using wet hands, form dough into 1 1/4-inch balls; roll in sugar to coat completely. Place balls on prepared sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.
Bake cookies until cracked on top but still soft to touch, about 8-9 minutes. Cool on sheets 1 minute. Carefully transfer to racks and cool. (Can be made 5 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)