Chewy Ginger-Molasses Cookies

I usually only dip them in white chocolate, but sometimes I’ll decorate them with royal frosting if I’m feeling fancy.

When I first stumbled across the recipe for these delicious chewy ginger cookies, I had no idea they would become my favorite Christmas cookie of all time. At the time, I was working as the blog editor for a stationery and paper goods company in Portland, and I was looking for a recipe idea that would pair well with the holly tags that were eventually featured in this post. I loved the idea of creating white space on a ginger cookie for decorating, but it never occurred to me how well the flavors of rich, earthy ginger and molasses would pair with the creaminess of the white chocolate.

Don’t get me wrong: you can eat these cookies in their plain form. They make for a delicious ginger-molasses cookie experience, but please do try them with the white chocolate if you feel so inclined. I promise, it’s worth the extra effort.

A word about white chocolate chips: I’ve tried several brands, but certainly not all. The brand I keep coming back to in terms of flavor is Ghirardelli. They’re not sponsoring this post or anything - don’t worry. They just have a good, true flavor without any weird aftertastes, and they melt perfectly.

chewy ginger-molasses cookies

Chewy Ginger Cookies
dipped in white chocolate

2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
¼ cup molasses
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup sugar in the raw (or regular sugar)
3 cups white chocolate chips
Wax paper or parchment

Instructions
Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg together in a large bowl, making sure the ingredients are well combined. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and add the egg until incorporated. Add the molasses and vanilla extract and beat, scraping down the sides, until everything is mixed together.

Slowly add the dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Remove bowl from stand mixer, and scrape the sides down with a spatula. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Line your cookie sheet with a silpat mat and preheat oven to 375F. Place ½ cup raw sugar in a bowl and set aside. Remove dough from refrigerator and, using your hands, roll balls that are 1½ to 2 inches in diameter with the dough. Place dough balls in the bowl with the raw sugar until evenly coated. Place balls on cookie sheet, leaving 2 inches space between each ball. Lightly flatten each ball into discs and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the edges are just turning golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a cookie rack to cool.

Once cookies have cooled completely, melt the white chocolate chips in a heat-safe bowl in the microwave for 1 minute. Remove and stir until creamy and smooth. The chips should be completely melted, but if not, place back in the microwave for another 10 seconds.

Tear off a length of wax paper and place it on your counter. Dip cookies into the melted white chocolate chips, one by one, scraping the excess off the bottom as you remove it from the bowl. Place on wax paper and allow white chocolate to set until completely hardened.

Optional: after the white chocolate has hardened, decorate your cookies using royal icing/frosting

P.S. I always double this recipe. And although I usually always dip them in white chocolate, I only bother to frost them with royal icing if I’m feeling fancy.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy.

Zucchini Bread

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Our zucchini harvest season is winding down, but we still have a few large specimens awaiting their fate on the kitchen counter. If the zucchini is small and tender, I’ll usually eat it without much ado: lightly sautéed and seasoned with salt and pepper. The larger ones, however, have a tougher skin, larger seeds and not as delicate of flavor, so those are usually reserved for batch after batch of zucchini bread which I’ll freeze and eat, or give away to friends and family throughout the year.
 

My zucchini bread recipe stems from a recipe given to my husband by his family. I’ve experimented and tweaked some things here and there, and have come up with my own well-worn and loved variation. Every kitchen witch has their own method, after all.
 

For me, the chopped dates are essential. The original recipe calls for chopped nuts, which are also delicious, but I reduce the sugar from its original 2 ¼ cup down to 1 ½ (or less), so the dates give it a little added sweetness. The real magic in the dates, however, is in their texture. They almost melt into the bread while it’s baking. 

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INGREDIENTS
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar (I usually only use 1 cup)
3 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped dates
 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease two standard-sized loaf pans.

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Mix in the vanilla and grated zucchini.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, ground cinnamon, grated nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Fold in the chopped dates.

Divide the batter evenly between the two loaf pans and place on the center rack in preheated oven. Bake for 60 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Let loaves cool for 20 minutes before removing from loaf pans. Serve immediately or store in aluminum foil. Loaves can be frozen and thawed at room temperature when ready to serve.

 

Chocolate Nut Butter

This three-ingredient chocolate-hazelnut spread is an indulgent, yet healthy(ish) staple in our kitchen. We make it all the time, usually with hazelnuts, but sometimes we’ll change it up and use almonds or peanuts instead. No matter which variety of nut you go with, the technique is basically the same, but the flavor is different. We also play around with the chocolate. I usually go for a higher quality dark, but it’s delicious made with milk chocolate too.


Chocolate-Nut Spread Recipe

  • 16 oz raw, unsalted nuts
  • 8 oz chocolate, chopped
  • pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 400F. Place nuts on a cookie sheet in a single layer and roast for 10-15 minutes, checking occasionally, until the nuts turn golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

(Optional Step: place hazelnuts in the center of a large tea towel or flour sack towel. Pick up the sides and secure. Shake vigorously to remove the skins.)

Place nuts in food processor with a pinch of salt. Process until pasty nut butter has formed.

Place chocolate in a double broiler until fully melted. Add to food processor with nut butter and continue to pulse until chocolate nut butter has reached desired consistency.

Jar up and store in the cupboard for up to two weeks. Alternatively, store in the fridge for up to a month or two.

*note: if you purchase roasted, salted nuts, just skip the step where you roast your nuts in the oven.

 

Delicious ways to use this chocolate-hazelnut spread:

  • on toast
  • in a smoothie
  • in crepes with berries or bananas
  • with granola
  • in baked goods, like muffins or quick breads
  • with fruit on crackers
  • stirred in oatmeal
  • on a spoon