Recently I borrowed a great cookie resource from my local library--Martha Stewart's Cookies. I'm not in any way, shape or form a Martha fan, but I AM a fan of cookies and this cookbook is choc full of great recipes. Some of them are just ridiculously extravagant for my taste, but I was pleasantly surprised to discovery so many "everyday" recipes. When I tagged the page with this particular recipe, I noted that it contained fresh ginger and fresh nutmeg. Though I didn't pick up any nutmeg (just sprinkled in a teeny tiny bit of dry nutmeg), I did buy fresh ginger for the first time as I wanted to follow the recipe as closely as possible. I was also surprised at the lack of egg in the ingredients and the relatively large amount of molasses called for. Most molasses cookie recipes call for 1/4 cup molasses when about 2 cups of flour are needed. This, however, only has 1 and 1/2 cups flour (plus 1 Tbsp!) and needs 1/2 cup molasses. I hate using so much of a slightly pricey ingredient, but again, I wanted to try the recipe as written before making modifications.
These cookies are quite amazing for the sophisticated palate, but would probably be a bit too "spicy" and overwhelming for younger foodies. I love storebought gingersnaps and I believe these have a tang quite comparable to those molasses variety cookies. They are obviously not "snaps"--in fact they're quite soft and gooey.
1 1/2 cups plus 1 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp ground giner
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 Tbsp unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp freshly grated peeled ginger
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp boiling water
7 ounces (~1/2 cup) best quality semi-sweet chocolate, cut into 1/4 inch chunks (or chips)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 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; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.
In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn ont plastic wrap. Pat out to a 1 inch thickness; seal with wrap. Refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls; place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Chill 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar. Baked until surfaces just being to crack, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating halfway through. Let cool on pan 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Cookies are best the day they are made, but can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 5 days.
Makes: 2 dozen cookies