11.02.2012

friday sugar high | chocolate gingerbread cookies.

Guys. It's November. Already. And that means it's time for me (and you) to start thinking about your holiday baking plans.

I married a man who takes Christmas very seriously. Last year, he put us on a very strict regimen of outdated movies (maybe it is unAmerican to say this, but I thought White Christmas was horrible), laid down some ground rules for decorating the tree (everything had to match), and made countless last minute trips to the store for more baking supplies to fill our gift boxes headed to out of state relatives. He doesn't mess around.

Me, on the other hand, I have learned not to take such a heavy handed approach. I'll watch Elf one time, listen to a few holiday tunes on the radio, and help him hang some garland. But that's pretty much it. I'm happy to bypass the insanity of the shopping mall in favor of savoring the Savior. And I love to bake, but I threw in the towel on cookie exchanges years ago. Perhaps I am somewhat of a cookie snob, but after spending eight hours stuffing homemade dough with caramel candies for the ultimate cookie experience only to come home with a box full of crumbling, dry, or straight-up-storebought cookies in return, I quit.

But the flavors of  the season are entirely too enticing - the ginger, cinnamon, chocolate, peppermint, pumpkin, cranberries. These are a few of my favooooooooooorite things. (Good luck getting that song out of your head all day. You're welcome.) And so on the first of November, I made Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies. They're spicy sweet, shot through with miniature puddles of chocolate, and coated with coarse pearl sugar for an extra crunch-crunch with each bite. After two cookies, the back of my throat was pleasantly warm from the ginger and a glass of ice cold milk was definitely in order.

If you aren't the type to enjoy gingerbread (and it can be spicy enough to make your eyes water), give these cookies a shot anyway. They are spicy, but not alarmingly so, and the pearl sugar makes them incredibly fun to eat.

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Also, there are no eggs in this recipe. I thought it might've been a typo, but it's not. You can also use coarse sanding sugar (found at most craft or baking supply stores) if you can't find pearl sugar. Carry on.

Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
Adapted from King Arthur Flour

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup mini chocolate chips
5 tablespoons Swedish pearl sugar

Whisk together the first eight ingredients in a large bowl. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Add in the molasses and beat one minute more. Mix in the dry ingredients then fold in the chocolate chips.

Scoop into balls and roll the tops in the pearl sugar. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 11-13 minutes or until the tops begin to crack. Cool on the pan for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool competely.

These will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.

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