Tuesday, December 8, 2009

And The Christmas Baking Begins!

I kicked off my Christmas baking with my obligation to my work cookie exchange. I wanted to make something that would really wow the others participants!

Every year I make these cookies. I LOVE them. They are chewy and chocolatey, rich and moist. They are spicy and extravagant, with bold ingredients such as cloves, nutmeg, as well as powdered ginger paired with freshly grated ginger. Like always, use the very best quality chocolate you can find. They are a lot less work and less mess than you would expect for the sophisticated result.

This recipe comes straight from Martha's website. I originally found it in the magazine back in 1997, and it's been printed and reprinted in several publications and cookie books since.

If you like spice, like I do, go a little heavier on the grated ginger to experience a full flavor.

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread

7 oz. best-quality semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1/4 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tbsp. freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Line two baking sheets with parchment. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks; set aside. In a medium bowl, sit together flour, grounds ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and grated ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.

In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons 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 out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls; roll in granulated sugar. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, and bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to wire racks to cool completely.