Spicy Christmas Gingerbread Cookies
It's cookie time! That time of year where we get to spend our days sneaking cookies out of tins on the counter. My mom and I used to make these Gingerbread Cookies during the holidays, and they were one of my favorites. (My ultimate favorite is still the Neopolitans...so so good.) But these came in a close second. We used to make up a big batch, pull out the cookie decorating kits, and decorate them with frosting and edible decorations. As much as I loved decorating them, they're also fantastic straight out of the oven with nothing on them.These aren't your typical gingerbread cookies. They are slightly chewy and they have a spicy bite to them - thanks to the addition of black pepper. And the best thing about these cookies is that they get better with time. The flavor gets a bit stronger and they get a bit chewier. Both of which are good things when it comes to gingerbread. I recommend baking up a good mix of small and large cookies so you can nibble on the small ones throughout the day. You feel less guilty when you eat 10 small cookies :).This is a classic Martha Stewart Recipe, and though I've tried other gingerbread recipes, I always come back to this one. They are the best.A quick note: In the recipe, it calls for you to cool the gingerbread cookies after you roll and cut them. I tried both throwing them in the oven right after cutting them and doing the proper 30 minute cool down. To be honest, I couldn't tell the difference. So if you're a stickler for rules, feel free to follow as written. But if you're lazy and you don't work the dough too much, I think you can throw them right in the oven.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus a bit extra for rolling the dough out
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup unsulfured molasses
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
- Using a Kitchenaid (or an electric mixer), mix the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in the spices and salt. Then mix in the egg and molasses. Add flour mixture; mix on low speed until combined.
- Divide the dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap, forming two discs while you wrap them up. Put in the refrigerator for 1 hour to chill.
- Preheat your oven to 350F.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll one half of the dough to 1/8" to 1/4" thick. Use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out your cookies. You can re-roll the dough a few times to use up the scraps.
- Transfer the cookies to parchment or silpat-covered baking sheets, and refrigerate until firm, 20 to 30 minutes. (or..just throw them in the oven.)
- Bake until cookies are firm but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Let cool completely on a wire rack.
These cookies will last for about a week in an air-tight container.