December 6, 2012

Spicy Gingerbread Cookies

Not that I need another reason, but the holiday season provides a great opportunity to bake up tasty bits of cheer. This recipe is not one of mine, but a fabulous concoction from Liz Prueitt of Tartine and I am so happy to have found it. I have never been a big fan of gingerbread, but if I’d known from the start it can taste so spicy, so warm, and just plain delicious, I would have been making these long ago.

Don’t be discouraged by the list of ingredients, each and every one of them plays an integral part in the dynamic flavor of the dough. Also, don’t let the lack of instant gratification put you off of making these, as the dough does need to rest overnight before baking. If you like soft gingerbread, apply the glaze while the cookies are still warm from the oven. If you prefer a crisp gingerbread, leave off the glaze. Either way, your tastebuds and anyone you share these with will thank you.

Gingerbread Cookies
3-3/4 C all-purpose flour
4 tsp ground ginger
1 T cocoa powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp ground cloves
1-1/4 tsp fine black pepper, freshly ground
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 C unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 C + 2 T sugar
1 large egg
1/2 C blackstrap or other dark molasses
2 T light corn syrup

1 C confectioners sugar
2 T water

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

Using a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy. Turn mixer to low speed, slowly add the sugar, and then mix on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Add the egg and mix well, then add the molasses and corn syrup, beating until combined. Scrape down sides of bowl and add the flour mixture, then beat on low speed until the dough comes together.

Place the dough on a large piece of plastic wrap and flatten into a rectangle about 1-inch thick. Securely cover the dough with the wrap and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

On a floured work surface, with a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to 1/3-inch thick. Before you roll out the dough, it may be easier to set aside half of the dough in the refrigerator. (I securely wrapped half of the dough and froze for baking later in December.) You can cut rectangles, use cookie cutters, cookie stamps, or patterned rolling pins for your cookies.

Once shaped, place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about one inch apart. The dough can be gathered and rolled again until all of the dough has been used up.

Bake until lightly golden along the sides but still soft to the touch in the centers. Baking can take anywhere from 7-15 minutes, depending on the size of cookies. I recommend checking after 8 minutes of baking, especially if using a convection oven. Once done, allow the cookies to cool on the pans for about 5 minutes then move to a wire rack for complete cooling and glazing.

If using the glaze, you want to apply it while the cookies are still warm. To prepare the glaze, whisk confectioners sugar and water together until smooth. Evenly brush a light coat of glaze on the top of each cookie.

Will make about 48 cutout cookies, more or less depending on size.