Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

What makes a Christmas cookie a Christmas cookie?  I posed this question on Facebook last week after making these yummy little stunners.

flurry2

The answers were:  whatever is tradition–that is, what your family always bakes, shape and decoration, type of cookie–such as a sugar cookie or ginger cookie.  I’d say these Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies qualify!  The original recipe is from the December 2009 Food and Wine Magazine.  If you haven’t tried the combination of ginger and chocolate, it’s time!  It’s a ginger cookie taken to the next level.  With hot chocolate, with coffee, with a dessert wine….oh my.

If you bake, most likely you have everything you need:

ingredients

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 TBSP ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 TBSP baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 TBSP softened, unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients:  flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

whisk dry ingredients

Beat butter and shortening together until smooth in another bowl.

cream butter and shortening

Cream in the brown sugar until light and fluffy–about 2-3 minutes.

cream butter shortening and sugar

Add egg and beat until combined.

add egg

Beat in molasses,

add molasses

and then melted chocolate until smooth.

add chocolate

blend til smooth

Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, beating in between each addition.

add dry

Divide the dough into 3 equal parts.

divide into 3

Form each third into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

form disks wrap and refrigerate

Preheat oven to 350F and prepare baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out a disk to a thickness of 1/4 inch.  Use desired cutters to cut dough into shapes and transfer to baking sheets.  Dust cutters lightly with flour in between cookies to help the cookies release from the cutters.  I find that using cutters of different sizes allows for more efficient use of the dough and less re-rolling.

roll and cut

Gather the scraps together and continue to cut cookies.

gather scraps and re roll

Bake cookies for about 7 minutes, rotating pans halfway through unless you have a convection oven.  Let cookies cool on the pans for 5 minutes and transfer to racks to finish cooling.

bake 7 min

When cool, it’s time to decorate!  Be as fancy as you want to be.  I decided on using white and blue frosting tubes fitted with decorating tips and blue and white sanding sugars–they have a larger crystal than regular sugar, making my snowflakes more snowflake-y, in my opinion.  🙂  I frost each cookie first,

decorate with frosting

And then dip in sugar while the frosting is still wet.  Different colors come from different combos of sugar and frosting.

dip in sugar

Pretty soon you have a whole flurry of delicious and beautiful snowflakes!

flurry1

While one batch was baking, I thought it would be fun to see if I could make one of the smaller flakes perch on a cocoa mug.  Through a bit of trial and error and having to eat my mistakes…I ended up with this method:

I used a popsicle stick to press a mark into a raw cookie, just over halfway up the cookie, trying to leave equal amounts of cookie on each side of the mark.

mark with stick

mark shows

Then, I used a sharp paring knife to cut out the notch and carefully transferred the perching cookies to a baking sheet and baked and decorated the same as the regular cookies.

cut out notch

So fun!  A cute little cookie that parks nicely on your mug in between sips and can be dunked as you go!

perch notch

perch on cocoa

This recipe makes about 5 dozen cookies if you vary sizes.  My largest cutter was about 3 inches, the medium 2 inches and the tiny ones are about 1 inch.

flurry4

The recipe also makes an excellent sandwich cookie.  The filling recipe I’ve used is:  1 stick unsalted, softened butter, 8 oz mascarpone, softened, 3 cups powdered sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla.  Yum!

They are just fine all by themselves, though.  Aren’t they pretty?!

flurry3

The smell of chocolate gingerbread baking filled my house with Christmas!  It really put me in the mood to start decorating, so I got out the boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations, trees and ornaments.  Here’s one of my favorite ornaments from when I was little.

ornament

Do you have ornaments from your childhood?  I still need to bake a few more traditional cookies and make a Buche de Noel, but the house is decorated and cozy, and presents are wrapped.  I feel like I’m ready enough for Christmas.  I hope you have a merry holiday season where you are.

 

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Filed under comfort food, dessert, food gifts, Holiday foods, recipe

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