I’ve never left cookies out for Santa Claus. My mum had a hard enough time keeping them in the cookie jar when my brother and sister and I were growing up, never mind out overnight on a plate.
I’d like to say that if I was going to leave the jolly old elf a midnight snack all these years later, that the chocolate gingerbread cookies pictured above would be my treat of choice. They certainly would make a nice bribe if you’re after a big diamond ring or (faux) fur coat. But given the ridiculous number of cookies he’s got to chomp his way through Christmas Eve, I wouldn’t waste this delectable indulgence on Santa.
No, these are for late-night present wrappings with a cup of eggnog-laced coffee. Or an energy boost just prior to a morning of mall madness. They’re what gingerbread men aspire to become when they’re all grown up – although I discovered (much to my chagrin) that small kids will devour them and look around greedily for more as well.
Think moist, chewy gingerbread spiked with chocolate chunks and a sprinkling of frosty white sugar.
I think – although I’m not positive – that I found this recipe last year in Martha Stewart’s trove on her website, although I have made a couple of little changes along the way.
Last year was my first experience trying them. But something about these cookies tastes like I’ve been making – and eating – them forever, so timeless is their taste. While that might not be the case yet, looking forward to Christmas Future I’m pretty sure these cookies will be there!
Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
7 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
8 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1. Chop chocolate into small chunks and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and cocoa.
3. Beat butter in an electric mixer until whitened (about 4 minutes) then add brown sugar and beat until combined. Add molasses and beat until combined.
4. In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 tsp boiling water.
5. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate chunks.
6. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours.
7. Heat oven to 325F. Pull off small pieces of dough and shape into 1 1/2″ balls. Roll in granulated sugar and place two inches apart on buttered baking sheet.
8. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until surface cracks slightly. Let cool five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.