Ginger and molasses must be one of my favorite flavors – I posted a Molasses Spice cookie almost a year ago in December. And when it came time to make cookies for hunting season this year, I found myself drawn to these same flavors again. This time I wanted to make a more ginger forward cookie but I still wanted it to be chewy. One bite into this cookie and there is no mistaking that it’s a ginger cookie – it’s got that warm heat of ginger.
I flipped through all my cookbooks looking for and not finding what I wanted. I ended up getting close in The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2017 edition with their recipe for a Gingersnap. I was intrigued when the description said they wanted to put the snap back into gingersnaps, not only with the snap of the crisp cookie but with an assertive ginger flavor.
But I didn’t want a crispy/snappy cookie. I wanted a chewy cookie. So I totally geeked out researching what makes a cookie chewy. Brown sugar vs white sugar, amount of sugar (which holds onto moisture meaning more sugar = chewier cookies) baking soda vs baking powder and amounts of both, number of eggs including extra yolks or less yolks, cooking temperature and cooking time. A couple hours of google research later (much of it on Serious Eats) and I was ready to try my experimental cookie, tweaking the ATK version. The thing that both thrills and baffles me more than anything else, is that when I tasted this cookie – it was perfect. I fully expected to get something good, but have to try to make it chewier, or adjust the flavor, or something. Nope. Total chewy, warm ginger spice, slight molasses note, perfection.
Here’s what you need:
I started by mixing together my dry ingredients – into one of my cookie kits. You’ll need flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, Whisk these together (or in my case put them in a plastic bag and shake until mixed.
We’re also going to mix up our dry spices separately. This is because we’ll bloom them in the butter later on, this will bring out the flavors and aromas. You’ll need ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pepper and cayenne pepper. Yes, cayenne pepper. My dad didn’t believe me when I told them the cookies had cayenne pepper in these. It doesn’t make them spicy – the ginger does enough of that on its own, but I do think it complements the heat of the ginger.
These are a ginger cookie, so we are going to add some fresh ginger along with the ground ginger we mixed in with the flour. And by fresh ginger, I mean fresh ginger that you freeze and grate from frozen. Trust me on this, it will grate so much easier for you from frozen. But allow it to thaw to measure it (this won’t take long), the ginger will compress as it melts and you want to get every last bit of gingery goodness into these cookies. We’re looking for about 2 Tablespoons fresh ginger.
One of the best parts about this recipe is it uses browned butter. This is good for the cookie for a couple reasons. First, brown butter tastes awesome. It adds a rich and nutty flavor to anything you put it in – it will be subtle in these cookies because of the spices. Second, we use the melted butter to bloom the spices which brings out their aroma and flavor. And finally, since the butter is melted this is a whisk together cookie – no fancy mixer needed.
So, let’s get to browning the butter. In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Lower heat to medium-low and cook until butter just begins to brown. I like to swirl the butter slightly or occasionally whisk it. This takes about 3 to 5 minutes.
Transfer the butter to a bowl and add in ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pepper and cayenne pepper. Whisk together and allow to sit and cool for a couple minutes.
Next whisk in brown sugar, molasses, and fresh ginger until combined. Add 2 eggs and whisk together. Finally, stir in the flour mixture just until combined.
Cover and refrigerate about an hour until cool and firm.
Use a small cookie scoop that yields about 2 tsp, to portion the dough and roll into balls using your hands. Add a couple balls at a time to a shallow dish of sugar.
Swirl the dish or roll the dough around to coat them evenly in sugar.
Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes (or in a convection oven for 8 minutes), until cookies crack, look set and just begin to darken. These are chewy ginger cookies – you can let them go a little longer if you want them crisp – but remember, I altered the recipe so they won’t have the ‘snap’ of a gingersnap.
Allow cookies to cool on pan for 2-3 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
- 2 ½ c flour
- ¾ t baking soda
- 1 t baking powder
- ½ t salt
- 12 T butter
- 2 T ground ginger
- 1 t ground cinnamon
- ¼ t cloves
- ¼ t pepper
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 ¾ c dark brown sugar
- ¼ c molasses
- 2 T finely grated fresh ginger (works best if grated from frozen)
- 2 eggs
- ½ c sugar
- Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
- Melt butter in a 10 inch skillet over medium heat. Continue to cook on medium-low, whisking or swirling the pan occasionally until the butter just begins to brown about 3-5 minutes.
- Transfer browned butter to a bowl and whisk in ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Allow to cool for a couple minutes.
- Whisk in brown sugar, molasses and fresh ginger. Whisk in both eggs. Stir in flour mixture just until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour until firm and chilled.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment.
- Use a 2 t (small) cookie scoop to portion cookies and roll into balls with your hands. Roll balls in sugar until coated. Place on prepared cookie sheets.
- Bake 10-12 minutes (or 8 minute if using convection). Until cookies appear set and cracks appear. Cookies may start to darken on the outer edges.
- Allow cookies to cool 2-3 minutes on baking sheet. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
- Store in tightly covered container.