So these are kind of a traditionally Christmas cookie. But when have I ever cared about traditions?? Never. (Not true.) So, I make these all year round. Literally. And guess what--No one complains. So there. You have every right to make these delicious chewy, spicy, (christmassy) cookies whenever you darn well please. If anyone gives you trouble, give them a cookie.
You'll find a lot of recipes for this type of cookie out there. And most of them will have almost identical ingredients. But there are a couple little technique changes that will make a big difference.
The temperature of your butter is essential. If your butter is too warm (or melted *gasp*) it will make for runny dough and flat cookies. If you butter is too cold it won't allow your sugars to cream into it which will impact how much air is incorporated into your dough, think fluffy dough. It also won't allow all your ingredients to be distributed evenly through your dough.
I usually take my butter out of the fridge the night before I bake. But let's be honest, that doesn't always happen. So when I'm in a hurry I open my butter and slice it into 1/4 inch slices. This helps it to come to room temperature much quicker.
Most cookies, and even some cakes call for you to cream your butter and sugar. Don't skip over this step. Your butter and sugars need to mix thoroughly, and for several minutes. As I said above, creaming your butter and sugar helps the sugar to dissolve and disperse in the butter, but it also incorporates air which makes for a light and fluffy dough, and therefore softer, more delicious cookies.
Most recipes I found said to refrigerate the whole bowl of dough and then scoop. That is bad advice. Have you ever tried to scoop ice cold cookie dough? It's extremely difficult. I scoop these cookies out as soon as the dough is mixed, roll in sugar, and then place all my scooped and rolled dough balls in the fridge for at least an hour.
I know its tempting to skip the refrigeration step, because who wants to wait an extra hour for cookies?? Not me. But, it is essential to the texture and thickness of these cookies. Because this is a high sugar content cookie, it has a tendency to spread really thin, which will give you crunchy/crispy cookies. There is definitely a time and place for that. But I think these cookies are best when thick and chewy.
The science behind it is something like, the colder the dough, the longer it will take for the butter to melt, and the less it will spread; Therefore, giving you nice and thick cookies. The thicker they are, the softer they will be in the middle. So when done properly, you should end up with a nice thick cookie, crunchy outside, soft and chewy inside. I normally make the dough/scoop during Nella's morning nap, toss it in the fridge and then go back to them whenever there is another quiet lull in our day.
Okay, now for the recipe. (I know that's all you really came for.)
Thick Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies
Makes 15 large cookies Bake at 375 for 10 min
What you'll need:
3/4 C butter (room temperature, not melted)
1 C sugar
1/4 C molasses
2 1/4 C all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Extra sugar for coating. I also like to add clear or gold sugar sprinkles (like these or these) to the coating for an extra crunch and sparkle.
What you'll do:
1. Measure all dry ingredients into a bowl. Run a fork through it to distribute evenly.
2. Cut butter into slices. In a stand mixer, cream butter with sugar and molasses until light and fluffy. (3-5ish minutes)
3. Add egg to butter/sugar mixture and allow to incorporate completely. Do not add anything else until the wet shine of the egg is gone.
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients, about a cup at a time. This should be a pretty dry dough. If it seems wet, you may need more flour.
5. Scoop into golfball sized balls. Roll in sugar and place in a container to refrigerate.
6. Cover the rolled balls and refrigerate for at least an hour.
7. Place chilled dough balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet with plenty of space between.
8. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes. Tops should start to crack a little, but don't let them get too dark.
I can't wait to hear how they turn out for you! Be sure to come back and tell me!