We bought our Christmas tree this past weekend! Now my house is officially 73% cheerier, 45% good-smellier, 26% baby-endangeringer, and 100% pine-needlier than it was before. I love, love, love walking into the front room and seeing our tree decked out with glowing lights and sparkling ornaments. If there was a way to hug the tree without getting a noseful of needles (and without looking like a giant hippie cliche), I would bear hug that sucker at least once a day.
All of which is to say, I’m feeling the Christmas spirit over here.
Let’s go through the list. Tree? Check. Not-yet-tiresome Christmas tunes? Check. Gratuitous mugs of hot cocoa sipped while pretending it was snowing outside? Oh my yes, check. All that’s left, then, is the little matter of the Christmas cookie.
I needed the perfect cookie to go along with our newly decked halls. A seasonal recipe might have been the obvious choice, but I was really craving a good old-fashioned chocolate chip cookie. Rather than make something I wasn’t in the mood for, I decided to combine the best of both worlds. I created a chocolate chip cookie recipe with a touch of gingerbread flavor—a bit of molasses, a spoonful of ginger, and a dash of a few other spices as well.
I wasn’t sure what the result of my mad scientist cookie-mixing would be, but these are amazing! They’ve retained the crispy-on-the-outside-chewy-on-the-inside texture of chocolate chips cookies, as well as the light brown sugar flavor. (They are definitely not just gingerbread cookies with chocolate chips added.) However, the molasses, ginger, and other spices do give them a warm, toasty, homey flavor that elevates them from the typical chocolate chip cookie, and makes them the perfect holiday treat.
Add these into your Christmas cookie rotation for all of your chocaholic friends who need a break from the sugar cookies and shortbread and gingersnaps. Or just make them and eat them all yourself…heaven knows that’s what I did.
Note: I baked a few of these right after making the dough, and then baked the remainder after the dough had rested for a few days in the refrigerator. The rest period produced a really lovely cookie with the perfect texture and flavor. They’re still delicious when baked fresh, but if you have the time, I highly recommend letting the dough sit for at least overnight, or up to 3 days, in the refrigerator before baking.
Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cookies
yield: 24 cookies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
6 oz (3/4 cup) butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp molasses
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
In a medium bowl, whisk together the first 9 ingredients (flour through black pepper). Set aside for now.
In the bowl of a large stand mixer, combine the butter and both sugars. Beat them together on medium speed for 1-2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the molasses and beat until it’s mixed in, then add the egg and vanilla extract and beat again until everything is well-incorporated.
Stop the mixer and add the dry ingredients. Turn the mixer on the lowest setting and mix just until most of the flour has disappeared but there are still a few streaks remaining. Finish stirring everything together by hand, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the chocolate chips last and stir them in.
Scrape the dough out onto a piece of cling wrap, press it into a disc, and wrap it tightly. Refrigerate overnight, or up to 72 hours. (At this point, the dough can be portioned and frozen for up to 3 months.)
To bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop large golf ball-sized rounds of dough and place them on the baking sheets 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 F for about 10 minutes, until the cookies are set and golden around the edges, but still quite soft in the middle. Let them cool for 5 minutes on the trays, then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.
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