Friday, December 01, 2006

Insanely Fabulous, Over the Top Ginger Cookies

"These cookies are the bomb" said husband. Coworkers agreed, and I ate at least 42 of them myself. Mary loves them as well, even though they are spicy and strong-flavored (not always a plus for kids, as we all know). The recipe is easy and kids like helping roll the cookie into balls and then into sugar (my least favorite part). I've been on a molasses and ginger sort of kick lately-due to the holidays, I'm sure. I always want to lock myself in the house and listen to Christmas carols and cook and eat and watch the snow for the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Of course, there is no snow, and the rain is depressing. And on December 26th, I'm so sick of carols I could happily take a sledge hammer to Christmas with the Jackson 5. But right now, this early, there still COULD be snow, and the carols are beautiful, and the lights on the house look fantastic, and there are these wonderful cookies. The chopped crystallized ginger adds great flavor but also makes the cookies moist and almost candied in the center. The large quantities of spice and the unexpected black pepper are essential. Don't be afraid.

Modified from a recipe from

Makes about 70.

*4 cups all purpose flour
*2 TBS ground ginger
*1 TBS + 1 tsp baking soda
*2 tsp ground cinnamon
*2 (scant) tsp ground cloves
*10 "turns" of fresh ground black pepper.
*1 1/4 tsp salt
* 1 1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger (the Baker's Cut from Trader Joe's is perfect-and cheap)
*2 cups dark brown sugar
*1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
*2 large eggs
*1/2 cup molasses

*White sugar (to roll cookies in; can substitute raw sugar)

*Mix first seven ingredients in large bowl to blend.
*Whirl chopped ginger in food processor til it's a mix of powdery ginger goodness and some larger chunks. Add to dry ingredients and blend.
*Using mixer, beat butter and brown sugar til creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add molasses and beat to combine. Gradually mix in dry ingredients and crystallized ginger, beating only until combined.
*Chill dough for about an hour in the fridge.
*Heat oven to 350. Grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper or Silpat.
*Roll cookies into balls of about 1". Roll balls into sugar. Place a couple inches apart.
*Bake 10-11 minutes. Cookies will be cracked when done but will look raw between cracks. That's good! Cool for a minute on pan then remove to cool on racks.

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