Saturday, December 24, 2011

Soft and Chewy White Chocolate Ginger Cookies

Every year when I start brainstorming for types of Christmas cookies to bake and share with friends and family, I ask David for his suggestions. Without fail, he always asks for gingersnaps. In my mind, gingersnaps should be crunchy, spicy cookies. When you bite into one, it should, you know, snap. Hence, ginger-snap. Apparently, David does not share this concept of what a proper gingersnap should be. In his mind, the ideal gingersnap should be soft and chewy. While I certainly enjoy a soft and chewy ginger cookie, I refuse to call such cookies "gingersnaps".  If it doesn't snap when you bite into it, it's not a "snap". Those are the rules folks.

Once I finally figured out that David was actually asking for ginger cookies, I set out to find a recipe that yielded perfectly soft, chewy cookies with a well balanced spicy ginger flavor. After a few semi-successful attempts, I think I finally found a winner. So far, everyone who has tried these has raved about them. As an added bonus, these cookies stay soft and chewy for days and days. So if you, too, are looking for the perfect ginger cookie, give these a shot.

(Sidenote: I added the white chocolate chunks and crystallized ginger, because well, I like white chocolate and crystallized ginger. If you don't, feel free to leave them out.)

Soft and Chewy White Chocolate Ginger Cookies
adapted from America's Test Kitchen

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
2 1/2 ounces (about 1/3 cup) granulated sugar
2 1/2 ounces (about 1/3 cup) dark brown sugar
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 ounces molasses (about 1/2 cup), light or dark is fine; I use sorghum from a local supplier
11 1/4 ounces (about 2 1/4 cups) bread flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
8 ounces white chocolate chunks (optional)
1/2 cup coarse sanding sugar for dipping (I used red and green on some cookies for a festive touch)

1. Adjust one oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cream butter and sugars (granulated and brown) at medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Depending on your mixer's power and speed, this should take approximately 3-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
3. Add egg yolk and vanilla extract and continue beating at medium-high for 1-2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl midway through.
4. Add molasses and continue beating for 1 more minute.
5. Whisk together flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. With mixer set on lowest speed, gradually incorporate flour mixture into wet ingredients until no streaks of flour are visible. Periodically scrape down sides of bowl.
6. Fold in crystallized ginger and white chocolate chunks using your mixer's fold function, or by hand.
7. Pour sanding sugar into a shallow dish. Roll dough into approximately 1 1/2 inch balls and coat with sanding sugar.
8. Bake for 10-12 minutes on a parchment lined baking sheet. The original recipe recommends only baking one sheet at a time, as the cracks will not properly form otherwise, so I heeded their advice. Remove cookies when they begin to crack. Cookies should still look undercooked between cracks.
9. Allow cookies to cool for at least 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to complete cooling.

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