Holidays inevitably creep up on me and I always fall very short of my intended baking list. This time around I managed at least one holiday cookie, gingerbread cookies, and somewhat decorated too. Go figure.
This is a phenomenal recipe a bit adapted, from Cooks Illustrated, since I find our molasses here (Buenos Aires) is too strong, so I water it down – or sweeten it down really – with some corn syrup or honey. The balance is magic, strong yet sweet, all those spices exploding with every bite.
The final flavor is outstanding, with that characteristic spicy tingling. All the reasons we love gingerbread (those who don’t, really, I don’t get it) are contained in this easy recipe.
I had planned for a different shape, but my star cookie cutters are nowhere to be found – if someone knows where I put them, please whistle, ha. A nice pile of different sized stars making up a cookie Christmas tree, that was the original thought. Or something like that.
Instead, you get the plainest flower, with some dots decorating them. Not crafty is my middle name. But boy, do I find great recipes, like this one.
If you roll them thicker and skimp a bit on the cooking time, you get softer, chewier cookies. If you go the opposite direction as I did here, roll them thin and bake them crisp, you get cookie ornaments (don’t forget the hole needed to hand them) or very crisp (my choice) gingerbread cookies.
Either way, the recipe is amazing and it’s that time of year guys. Enjoy.
Yield 90 medium cookies
- 420g (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour or cake flour
- 150g (¾ cup) packed dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 180g unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks), softened
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup unsulphured molasses (see note below)
- 2 tablespoons milk, optional if you want softer cookies
- Put butter in a bowl.
- Add brown sugar and beat for a minute or two, until well incorporated.
- Add the honey and molasses and mix well.
- Add together flour, spices, salt and baking soda to the butter (make sure the baking soda is sifted as it might have clumps and not integrate well) and mix everything well. It will take a few minutes until it’s all one color.
- Wrap in plastic or parchment paper, pressing to make a disc, and refrigerate overnight or at least for about 6 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line cookie trays with parchment paper or nothing (they don’t stick, but maybe you prefer not to wash the trays, haha).
- Roll 1/4 of the dough (keep the rest refrigerated) between two sheets of parchment paper, or on a very lightly floured counter (you want as little extra flour as possible).
- If needed because the dough softened, after you make the cookies on the dough, refrigerate the whole thing (on a cookie tray) for a while until they are firm enough to transfer to the baking trays.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until dry and barely soft to the touch for crisp cookies.
- Let cool completely before decorating. I mix powdered sugar and lemon juice, use a very thin round tip and make dots. That’s decoration for me, haha. You can find a million tutorials online on how to really decorate cookies.
Where I live the molasses is too strong, so I use some honey. But you can omit it and use 3/4 cup molasses.
Add the 2 tablespoons milk, roll them thicker, and you have softer cookies.
a bit adapted from Cook’s Illustrated