I have a bit of a problem making decisions sometimes, and have spent many hours agonizing over things like restaurant menus, socks, and especially recipes. Today I wanted to make triple ginger molasses cookies, but couldn’t decide whether to make them classic, with chocolate chunks melting inside them, or dredged in orange sugar. So I divided the dough into thirds and made all three. Sometimes being indecisive pays off.
I was the most wary of the chocolate ones, but they turned out to be my favorite, especially soft, gooey and warm from the oven. The bitterness of the 70% chocolate enhances the deep richness of the molasses, all blending together with the various types of ginger.
Jay prefered the orange ones, and they do have a palette-pleasing zing to them.
But the classic ones are by no means dull, flecked and spicy with candied, ground and freshly grated gingers. They all make the house smell gorgeous as they bake.
I’m not a kitchen gadget person, but there are some tools that I sorely miss when I am without them. One is the spring loaded ice cream scoop. They come in handy for various purposes including portioning out drop cookie and scone dough, muffins, and cupcakes. I have a few different sizes ranging from small baby truffle to big daddy scone, and employ them all fairly regularly. They come in color coded handles; for modest-sized cookies, such as these, I use the purple one; for big, bakery sized cookies I use the red one.
Another tool is the plastic bench scraper. They cost about a dollar, so there’s really no excuse not to have one. Stiffer and sturdier than a rubber spatula, they make scraping and mixing stiff doughs a breeze. Plus the lack of a handle means you usually get a lot of batter on your fingers, and who could blame you for licking it off?
The third and dearest to my heart is my little electronic scale, useful for weighing ingredients which are a drag to try to squish into a cup and then get back out, such as peanut butter, coconut oil, maple syrup or molasses. Instead, you can blithely just weigh everything into a bowl or two as you need them, thinking smugly how clever you are.
A fourth necessity is parchment paper. I despise those little rolls you often find in grocery stores and even cooking stores that should be more enlightened than that. It is always the wrong width, and annoying to cut each time you need a piece. You can order real, full-sized sheets here, or a friendly neighborhood bakery might sell you some if you ask nicely.
I’m not generally a milk drinker, but these deep, dark, spicy cookies call out for something mild and creamy to offset their richness. Enjoy with a glass of milk or a mug of hot apple cider, or one of each if you just can’t make up your mind.
Triple Ginger Molasses Cookies
Adapted from Baking Illustrated
Makes 3 dozen 2″ cookies
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but cool
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1″ knob fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup (6 ounces by weight) unsulphured blackstrap molasses
1/3 cup candied ginger, finely chopped
2 1/4 cups flour (11 1/4 ounces)
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup granulated or turbinado sugar, for rolling the cookies
Position a rack in the upper center of the oven and preheat to 375º. Line two or three rimless baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine the butter, sugars and fresh ginger in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 – 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the yolk until combined, then the molasses and fresh and candied gingers.
Whisk together the dries in a medium bowl, and add to the butter mixture. Mix on low speed until barely combined. Remove from the mixer and fold by hand a couple times to make sure everything is hunky-dory.
Put the 1/3 cup sugar in a small bowl. Use a spring loaded ice cream scoop or a spoon to make 1″ balls of dough, and roll each between your palms to round. Toss each ball in the sugar to coat, then place them on the parchmented sheet pans, spacing them two inches apart. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until the edges are set but the centers are still very soft. They will seem under baked, but will firm up as they cool. Slide the parchment onto a cooling rack to stop the cookies from over baking, and let cool. Store in an airtight container for up to a few days.
For triple ginger chocolate chunk cookies, add 1 cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate to the dough along with the dries. Place a chunk or disc atop each cookie before baking.
For triple ginger citrus cookies, zest one orange into the batter along with the gingers. Zest a second orange into the rolling sugar and smush with your fingers until the sugar is clumpy with orange oil.