Cookies are everywhere during Christmas. The New York Times did a whole feature on readers’ cookie recipes in 2009 that is still one of my favorite cookie collections to date, and the food blogs and magazines are just exploding with recipes for diminutive treats.
Hot cocoa cookies, rugelach, mushrooms made of meringue, elaborately decorated snowflakes—all cookies that are beautiful to look at and great to eat, but not necessarily anything I want to mess around with in my own kitchen.
My favorite cookies are the kind made by someone else. For most of my life, my mom (who literally bakes professionally) has kept the Wutz family well supplied with peanut butter blossoms, chocolate chip cookies and chocolate-orange truffles every holiday season.
Once I moved away from home, the myriad of local bakeries in Ketchum and Hailey kept me well supplied with every variety of cookie I could ever want. Cranberry-chocolate-oatmeal? Yes, please.
But I make cookies roughly once a year—for Christmas, when I am looking for something to give my co-workers. Since I’m a food writer, usually some sort of sweet baked good is expected.
This year, I debated making everything from brownies to mini apple or pecan pies, tiny loaves of lemon bread or Mason jars filled with homemade cocoa mix.
But no matter how creative I try to get, I almost always end up baking ginger cookies. Not only are they spicy instead of cloyingly sweet like most other Christmas delicacies, they package well and are usually well received by choco-phobes.
Unlike gingersnaps, these cookies are soft and chewy—and they don’t resemble any cookies that my mother makes, which is a bonus when my co-workers have already been treated to every variety she makes throughout the year.
The original recipe called for half as much ginger and half as much cinnamon, but I like these cookies to taste pretty intense. If you are not a fan of molasses, shame on you—but you can substitute half of the molasses with honey to lessen the intensity.
Make sure you take these out of the oven what seems like too early, as they will continue to bake a little while cooling and will harden. Wait a few minutes before you attempt to lift them off the pan and onto a wire rack for final cooling.
Adapted from Canadian Living
3/4 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
Additional granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in egg and molasses.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, soda, salt and spices. Blend into creamed mixture.
Shape dough into small balls and roll in the additional granulated sugar. Place balls 2 inches apart on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper if you desire.
Bake for no more than 8 minutes or until JUST SET. They will not look done, but they are, I promise! Let them cool and harden for a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to complete cooling.