Monday, December 22, 2014

Gingerbread Cookies

I know. I know. Another cookie recipe? I told you about my obsession with making cookies around the holidays, and so I just decided that I would revel in my cookie enthusiasm instead of trying to fight it. With the holidays comes joy, and joy is often found in cookies. There is nothing that I enjoy more than dipping gingerbread men in a hot cup of coffee first thing in the morning. It seems naughty. Or nice? Either way, I can't help myself. The spices of the gingerbread, the dark roast steeped in my French press, and the morbid act of dismembering cookie folks in the darkness of dawn creates this blissful memory. This is how December mornings should be. No matter how sleep deprived, living this memory makes the world right. And so I share with you, my beloved gingerbread cookie recipe, for which to tempt your own holiday memories.

This recipe has been modified from its original in Cooks Illustrated. These cookies are chewy and full of robust ginger flavor!

Gingerbread Cookies

2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or just use unbleached flour)
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 Tablespoons butter, softened but cool and cut into 12 pieces
3/4 cup molasses
2 Tablespoons milk

In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Mix on low speed until combined. Stop the mixer, and add the butter pieces, and mix at medium- low speed until the mixture is sandy and resembles fine meal, about 1 1/2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, and with the mixer running, slowly add the molasses and milk, and mix until the dough is evenly moistened, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium and mix until thoroughly combined, about 10 more seconds.

Scrape the dough out onto a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Cover the dough with another sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap, and roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Place the rolled out dough- still between the layers of parchment or plastic, on a cookie sheet, and freeze until firm- 15 to 20 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350. Remove the dough sheets from the freezer and cut into desired shapes. Place the cut outs on another baking sheet, and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the outsides begin the brown slightly and the cookie seems set. Do not over bake. Allow cookies to cool. Dip into a hot cup of coffee early in the morning, or alternately frost and decorate the cookies.

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