December 22, 2011

Sugared Ginger Cookies

Today is the last cookie post of the week before I bring you tomorrow's savory appetizer recipe. These Sugared Ginger cookies are another regular addition to my cookie gift tins. I love a good ginger cookie redolent with heady spices and smoky molasses. I found this recipe several years ago on My Recipes and have been making them every holiday. I deviated only slightly from the recipe by skipping the icing, but I'm sure they would be just as delicious if you chose to add it.  Since I am not the cookie-decorating type of baker {although I wish I was!}, these are the next best thing to making gingerbread people. They're soft and chewy on the inside with a delightful crunch from the sugar coating. They're also not an overly-sweet cookie.

I know I'm going to sound like a broken record by telling you yet again that these are an easy cookie to make. I assure you that I am not lazy when it comes to cooking and baking, but I also believe that cooking and baking does not need to be an overly-complicated affair, especially when you are making dozens of cookies. The cookies I send out in my gift tins not only have to be delicious, they also have to travel well so my family and friends don't receive a tin full of crumbs. Drop cookies and cookies that are rolled and coated in sugar are just the right types of cookies to send because you can make multiple batches quickly and easily, and they'll arrive intact and looking just as pretty as they did when they came out of the oven. 

So tell me...

What are your favorite cookies to make for family and friends?

Sugared Ginger Cookies
Adapted from My Recipes

Make sure all of your spices are fresh for the best flavor.

1 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for coating the cookies
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 egg, at room temperature
3 T. molasses
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the sugar and butter together over medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle as necessary. Add in the egg and the molasses and mix well to combine.

Sift the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt into a bowl. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour/spice mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and blend well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. 

Transfer the dough to a bowl and chill for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight. If you are chilling the dough overnight, remove it from the refrigerator 30-45 minutes before using it to give it time to soften slightly before scooping. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Fill a shallow dish with some granulated sugar. 

Scoop out tablespoon-size pieces of dough and roll into balls. Roll the dough balls through the granulated sugar to coat evenly and place 2 inches apart on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time to ensure even cooking. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 

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