Sunday, December 25, 2016

spice up your life

I've got a bit of a late start to my Christmas cookie baking. Matty's been requesting that we bake some together, but between our schedules, it's just not happened. We may or may not have bought Lofthouse gingerbread men and (non-holiday) frosted cookies at Ralph's yesterday out of sheer desperation for some festivity.

And while I have nothing against Lofthouse (how are those cookies so FLUFFY?), I didn't want to bring store-bought cookies to my grandparents' dinner tonight. Enter these Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Since I obsessively weigh everything now, I can tell you that I made 3 dozen cookies out of half of this dough, about a 24-oz. batch. They were cute and petite, and were the perfect size to close out a meal where I knew we would all have too much to eat. If you're just making these for your cookie plate, however, I would recommend rolling out 1-oz. balls (as I've written below).

The cookies are addicting, the same kind of addicting your favorite chocolate chip cookies are, but with that extra spiciness you come to expect from a holiday batch of baked goods. I've got the other half of this dough in the freezer for (spoiler alert!) when Matty can partake.

Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cookies
slightly adapted from The Kitchn
makes 4 dozen

3 1/3 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
3/4 t. baking soda
3/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground black pepper
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. Chinese five-spice powder
12 T. butter, at room temperature
1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3 T. molasses
2 t. vanilla extract
3 T. grated fresh ginger (from a 3-inch piece, about 2 oz.)
1 c. chocolate chips

1. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, pepper, salt, and five-spice together in a large bowl. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed until fully incorporated and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the egg and egg yolk, one at a time, mixing at medium speed after each addition, for about 15 seconds, until completely incorporated. Add the molasses, vanilla, and ginger, and mix at medium speed until completely incorporated, about 15 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and under the blade as needed.

3. Add the flour mixture and mix at low speed, stopping the machine and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until just combined. Mix in the chocolate chips until just combined.

4. Evenly divide the dough into 2 portions. Place each portion on a sheet of plastic wrap, press into a disc, and then wrap completely in the plastic. Refrigerate until completely chilled, about 2 hours or up to 1 day.

5. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat to 350 degrees.

6. Unwrap one portion of dough (keep the second in the refrigerator). Measure out about 1 oz. of dough, and roll into a ball. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Place the balls about 1 inch apart on the lined baking sheets.

7. Bake for 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets between racks and from front to back. Bake until the cookies have risen, are just barely set, and are golden-brown with deeper brown edges, another 4-5 minutes. The cookies will still be soft - use a flat spatula to transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

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