Friday, October 26, 2012

Ginger Chocolate Cookies

I am a very big fan of ginger in any form - simple ginger cakes, ginger upside-down cakes with pears or plums or apples, ginger ice cream, ginger custard or ginger cookies.  And whether it's powdered ginger, crystallized ginger, freshly grated ginger or a halting combination of all three, I love the spicy explosion it introduces to pastries and desserts.

As we approach the holidays, it's time to get our cookie act together.  And since it's the fall season, spices are never far from our reach, along with chocolate.  So this cookie is a celebration of all these things.  It's a chewy cookie with crispy edges and each bite brings a different sensation.  It's either a pop of crystallized ginger, a gooey hit of dark bittersweet chocolate or a punch of salt.  I find it very satisfying, especially if you hit all three.



Bench notes:
- I like bittersweet chocolate in these cookies.  If you prefer a sweeter cookie, use semisweet.
- You can find less expensive crystallized ginger at bulk groceries or Trader Joe's.
- I use a #40 ice cream scoop to portion the cookie dough.  It speeds up the process and creates uniform cookies.  (The #40 refers to 40 scoops per quart.)
- If you have the time, scoop the cookies, place them all together on a smaller 1/4 baking sheet, wrap with plastic and place in the refrigerator to firm them up before baking.
- If you're a ginger fan, check out Plum Ginger Upside-Down Cake, Gingerbread Shortcake with Pears and Ginger Ice Cream.



Ginger Chocolate Cookies
Makes 3 dozen cookies

2 C flour
1 T cocoa powder
2 t baking soda
2 t powdered ginger
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
pinch freshly ground black pepper
4 oz (8 T) butter, melted
3/4 C dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/4 C molasses
1 egg
2/3 C crystallized ginger, finely chopped
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment or silpats.

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, spices, salt and pepper.

Combine the melted butter, sugars, molasses and egg until thoroughly blended.   Stir in the flour mixture.  Add the chopped ginger and chocolate.

Scoop the cookie dough into 1 tablespoon portions and form into balls.  Place 12 on each baking sheet.

Bake for 10 - 12 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack before removing from pan.  Store in an airtight container.

14 comments:

Julieta said...

Oh, my!!! This cookies look very good, I think they are next in my list of things to bake.
I´m in love with ginger too!!! I do my cristalized ginger, because here (Argentina) is not easy to find.
My problem is molasses, but will do them anyway :)
Thanks!!!

pastry studio said...

Julieta, you must love ginger if you make your own crystallized ginger! SO sorry you don't have molasses because it really adds a great flavor and moisture. Hope they turn out for you!

Kate said...

I make an oh so similar cookie (sans the black pepper) and LOVE them so much they are my choice for the Christmas cookie swap this year. Just may have to add that extra heat of the pepper ;)
I use mini chocolate chips but they don't come in bittersweet... only semi-sweet. I really prefer the bittersweet and.. DUH.. never crossed my mind to swap out some chopped bittersweet. So... yeah, may as well scrap the old recipe I have a forge ahead with a better version.. Yours!
Thanks

pastry studio said...

Kate, sounds like you enjoy ginger as much as I do! I think you'll enjoy these, too.

Debby Foodiewife said...

These are beautiful! I love molasses and have lots of candied ginger. I'll go for semi-sweet and I'm sure they're full of Fall flavor.

pastry studio said...

Debby, nice to see you again and thanks!

Victoria said...

Great recipe! I'm also from Argentina, and I always wondered where to find molasses here (I have seen many recipes that use them). Now I see I'm not the only one with that problem.


Is there any way to replace them?


Why do you use crystallized ginger instead of the regular, fresh one?

pastry studio said...

Hello, Victoria. Argentina is well represented here!

Molasses is a byproduct of sugar cane extracted during refining process that is used to make sugar crystals.

Treacle is considered the closest thing to molasses but I've never tasted it so I can't say for sure (it's not widely available where I live!). Honey replicates the viscosity but does not have the same flavor. Brown sugar has some of the flavor but is not a liquid. So it's hard to recommend a substitute that not only has a similar flavor but also the same properties.

I use crystallized ginger because it's sweet and chewy and adds a different element to the cookie. Raw fresh ginger can be added but it would add only a stronger flavor of more ginger. There are some great cookies out there that use all three forms: powdered, fresh and crystallized!

Victoria said...

How did I miss these? Must be because the Internet was down. I'm upstate, not in Manhattan, and all is well here. The power was out for 18 hours, but as we have a generator, that was not a problem for us.

Except for the Internet.

You don't realize how dependent you are on it until you don't have it for an extended period of time. Now I realize I will have to print out all my recipes instead of just having them on a blog.

Anyway, I LOVE ginger. I seriously love ginger. If I weren't going to marry my iPhone 5, I would marry ginger.

Last night I put some homemade vanilla gelato on a McVittie Ginger Nut cookie, and it was delicious, but I know this would be MUCH better. Better than better, I have to see if I have enough butter to make these right now. I know I have everything else., but I have been cooking up a storm, and, Julia Child would be proud of me, I'm not afraid of butter. If I don't have enough, I will put it off to next week, but I'm not really good at delaying cooking gratification.

Yum. Thanks!!!!!!!

pastry studio said...

Hello, Victoria! So nice to hear from you and know you're safe and sound. Hope you can bake these and enjoy with some delicious vanilla ice cream. Stay warm and dry!



Sofia Rodriguez Engelbrecht said...

Hello! Lovely cookies, I was looking for a recipe with ginger and chocolate as I want to make cookies and bring them as a present for a friend whose painting excibition is starting on wednesday and I think I will make this.. only I live in Spain and I m pretty sure I dont know where i cna find mollasses, I dont even really know what they are! I assume something sweet, maybe I can substitute with honey? I do like the combination of honey and spices in a cake..

pastry studio said...

Hello, Sofia! So sorry you don't have access to molasses. It's really a great addition to baked goods. Molasses is a byproduct of sugar cane extracted during refining process that is used to make sugar crystals.

Treacle is considered the closest thing to molasses but I've never tasted it so I can't say for sure (it's not widely available where I live!). Honey replicates the viscosity but does not have the same flavor and is sweeter. Brown sugar has some of the flavor but is not a liquid and is sweeter. Dark corn syrup is probably the closest but it's not something I like to use. So it's hard to recommend a substitute that not only has a similar flavor but also the same properties. If you decide to try honey, please do let me know how they turn out. This is a great cookie so I hope you are able to enjoy it in some form.

Best wishes for a grand opening for your friend's art work!

Sofia Rodriguez Engelbrecht said...

Thank you for your answer! I actually did end up using honey instead, and less sugar therefore. And I also chamged a few more things to experiment and made my version of it, and they turned out really good! (I added some ground almonds and less flour and butter, I had recently been baking a lot of german christmass cookies so I was inspired by that) You can see it in my own cookery blog (much less professional than yours!), I also included a link to your original recipe .
Thank you!
have a look: http://sofimay-cookingandbaking.blogspot.com.es/

pastry studio said...

Sofia, your cookies look really delicious. I love that you made your own ginger. I'm so glad you worked out the recipe for yourself. I'm going to have to try them!

Cheers!