gingerbread cookies

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I have what I admit is a random prejudice against crisp, crunchy cookies. I want soft, I want tender, I want chewy. I think most people, or at least most people of my generation, agree with me, but I doubt it was always this way. Surely there was a time when crisp cookies were at least as popular as soft ones. How else would we have gingersnaps?

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Obviously when I went looking for a gingerbread cookie recipe, “snap” wasn’t going to be part of the title. I wanted chewy and sweet but not too sweet and spicy but not too spicy.

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What I got was just about the perfect cookie – by my soft cookie standards. It puffed quite a bit in the oven, but not enough to lose its shape. It could use some more spice, but that’s easy to fix next time. More importantly, it was just the right level of sweetness, and even better, perfectly chewy. At least I thought so; Dave said he prefers his ginger cookies crunchier. Unfortunately for him, the only way he’ll get snappier gingerbread cookies is to make them himself, because this recipe was too perfect for me to try another.

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One year ago: Pizza with Butternut Squash and Kale
Two years ago: Red Pepper Risotto
Three years ago: Steak au Poivre
Four years ago: Sausage Apple Hash

Printer Friendly Recipe
Gingerbread Cookies
(slightly adapted from Gourmet via epicurious)

Makes about 3 dozen, depending on the size of your cookie cutters

I chilled my cut cookies on the baking sheets, before baking, for about 10 minutes before transferring to the oven. This tends to help cut-out cookie retain their shape during baking, but these still puffed quite a bit.

I didn’t use the icing recipe linked here. I decorated my cookies with cream cheese frosting because it seemed easier and tastier. It was, but the cookies had to be stored in a single layer to avoid messing up the frosting.

The spices in the original recipe here were pretty mild; next time I’ll double them.

⅔ cup molasses (not robust)
⅔ cup (4.67 ounces) packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3¾ cups (18 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and dusting
½ teaspoon salt

1. Bring the molasses, brown sugar, and spices to a boil in a 4- to 5-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally; remove from heat. Stir in the baking soda (mixture will foam up), then stir in the butter 3 pieces at a time, letting each addition melt before adding next, until all of the butter is melted. Add the egg and stir until combined, then stir in the flour and salt.

2. Arrange a rack in the middle position and heat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead, dusting with flour as needed to prevent sticking, until soft and easy to handle, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Halve the dough, wrapping one half in plastic wrap; keep at room temperature.

4. Roll out the remaining dough into a 14-inch round (⅛-inch thick) on a lightly floured surface. Cut out as many cookies as possible with cutters and carefully transfer them to the prepared baking sheets, arranging them about 1 inch apart.

5. Bake the cookies, one sheet a time, until edges are slightly darker, 8 to 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool for a couple minutes on the pan before transferring them to racks to cool completely. Make more cookies with remaining dough and scraps. Decorate cooled cookies as desired with decorating icing.

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Comments

  1. These are absolutely adorable!

  2. Brian says:

    Hello. You are at altitude right? I am in Denver and have a terrible time with sugar and gingerbread cookies spreading out too much even if I chill them. Can I follow your recipe and assume it’s adjusted for altitude? Any other tips?

  3. bridget says:

    Brian – I live at about 3300 feet, and so far, I’ve been very lucky that altitude hasn’t affected my baking at all. When I bake at my parents’ house in Albuquerque, which is the same altitude as Denver, I have the same problems with spreading cookies as you describe. I would check out the book “Pie in the Sky”. I don’t know if it has a gingerbread cookie recipe, but it hopefully has enough tips on high-altitude baking so you can tweak a regular recipe to work for you. Also, have you ever read the blog Use Real Butter? She lives outside of Boulder and struggles with high-altitude baking too. She has a recipe for chocolate gingerbread cookies that looks more like crinkles than the type of cookie you’d roll out, cut, and decorate, but at least you could get similar flavors.

  4. I love how simply you decorated these! They remind me of the cloth ones my mom made of us kids and stuffed. Each one is just a little different and she strung them together as a garland. It’s one of my favorite Christmas decorations she has.

  5. Brian says:

    Thank you. I’ll defiantly check out the book and the blog.

  6. Linda says:

    These cookies are soo cute. I haven’t had gingerbread cookies is the longest time. I may be inspired to make them. I only make gingerbread for houses and then I don’t eat them.

  7. I couldn’t agree more about the undesirable crunch factor in a gingerbread cookie! These look adorable.

  8. These gingerbread cookies look great :)

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