Christmas Cookies For Halloween: Chocolate Ginger Cookies
Lately I was thinking about how I used to bake cookies for my friends in college whenever the holidays came around; then I realized that there’s nothing stopping me from doing it now . . . all it takes is some planning and a good travel-proof recipe. I consulted my tattered copy of Martha Stewart’s Holiday Cookies magazine (from 2005?) and decided on her Chocolate Ginger Cookie recipe.
Instead of cutting them out in autumnal acorn and leaf shapes, I decided to use my long-neglected halloween cookie cutters and decorate them in orange-tinted royal icing. These cookies are crisp, spicy with a slight hint of cocoa and molasses. A great holiday cookie that stands up well for mailing.
The recipe can be found on Martha Stewart’s site (you could spend hours browsing all the cookie recipes she has on there), but I’ve reprinted it here for convenience.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup dark unsulfured molasses
- 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
- Sanding sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Whisk together flour, cocoa, spices, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
Cream butter and brown sugar on medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add egg, molasses, and grated ginger; mix until combined.
Add flour mixture; mix on low speed until just combined.
Halve dough; flatten into two disks. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate 1 hour. Transfer disks, one at a time, to a lightly floured surface; roll out to 1/4 inch thick. (If dough gets soft, freeze until firm.) Use 3-inch acorn or leaf cookie cutters to make shapes; place 1 inch apart on sheets. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
Score designs with a knife; sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are firm, 11 to 13 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
I omitted the sanding sugar and opted for decorating them with a royal icing that I spiked with some drops of orange food coloring. I used Baking911’s Safe Royal Icing recipe.