by Stephanie Zonis
Makes 24 cookies
Ginger and chocolate are a wonderful pairing of flavors. These goodies feature two soft ginger cookies sandwiched together with chocolate; the cookie sandwich is then dipped halfway in more chocolate. What could be bad? I have tried these with both semisweet and bittersweet chocolate, and I prefer the latter, but you can use either one. The "light molasses" called for in the recipe is the non-blackstrap type; the brand I like is Grandma's. It's widely available in twelve ounce jars with the words "Unsulphured" and "Mild Flavor" on the label. Nonstick cookie racks are a big help when cooling these cookies; if you don't have them, spray your cooling racks very lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
Once completed, the cookies will keep at room temperature for a couple of days, if stored airtight. I find that, as they age, the spice flavor in them becomes more pronounced. They'll also freeze (again, stored airtight), but I think they're not as good after they've been frozen. A nice choice for a holiday cookie tray.
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into
thin pats, preferably at room temperature
1 egg yolk, from an egg graded "large"
2 Tbsp. water
1/3 cup light molasses
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 to 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2-1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
Additional granulated OR superfine sugar
4 ounces good-quality semisweet OR
bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1-1/2 tsp. solid vegetable shortening
6 ounces good-quality semisweet OR
bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2-1/4 tsp. solid vegetable shortening
Place butter into medium heatproof bowl. Set aside. In small cup, beat together egg yolk and water with fork until well-mixed; set aside.
In one quart, heavy-bottomed, nonreactive pan, combine molasses, sugar, ginger, and cinnamon. Place over medium heat. Stir frequently until mixture just comes to a boil, then remove from heat. Immediately add baking soda and stir in well (mixture will foam up considerably and become lighter in color). Without waiting, add molasses mixture to butter. Stir to melt butter and blend it in.
Stirring molasses mixture constantly, add egg yolk-water and blend in thoroughly. Add flour and stir in; mixture will be stiff and sticky. Cover tightly with plastic wrap; allow to stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, adjust rack to center of oven; preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Place a medium plate near cookie sheets, and pour about 1/2 cup additional granulated OR superfine sugar onto the plate (my first choice here is superfine, which you can make by processing regular granulated sugar in a food processor fitted with a steel blade until the grains become very fine). with solid vegetable shortening, grease the bottom of a flat-bottomed drinking glass, then place it, bottom down, into the sugar.
Form the dough into balls one inch in diameter (I use a one inch diameter cookie scoop, but you can scoop out the dough with a teaspoon if you wish). It will probably be helpful to keep your palms damp while rolling the balls between them, though you may not need to do so after rolling out the first or second sheet full (this dough stiffens as it stands). I always bake 2 or 3 "test" cookies first, to make sure of my baking time; when I know that, I place 15 cookies on a 15-1/2 by 10-1/2 inch sheet. After placing the balls onto the sheet, press each with the sugared bottom of the glass to flatten to a diameter of about 1-3/4 inches, making sure you dip the glass bottom into the sugar, then tap off any extra sugar, before flattening each ball. If you get some extra sugar on the cookie sheet, it's OK. Note that cookies baked later in the batch may crack slightly around the edges when flattened--also OK.
Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, in the preheated oven for 7 to 8 minutes, turning the sheet from back-to-front about halfway during baking time. Cookies are done when they have lost their shiny "raw" look and are well-puffed; they'll still feel only semi-firm on top. Remove to cooling rack. Let stand about 10 to 15 seconds, then remove cookies from sheet to cooling rack (preferably nonstick) with wide-bladed metal spatula. Cool completely. If not sandwiching immediately, store airtight when cool, with wax paper between layers. You should have about 48 cookies.
Line a cooled baking sheet with aluminum foil or wax paper. On a separate sheet of wax paper, lay out all of the cookies, flat sides up, trying to pair those most similar in size and shape.
Combine finely chopped chocolate and shortening in small heatproof bowl. Place over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl); stir often until about half-melted. Remove from heat and hot water; dry bowl bottom and sides. Stir until completely melted and smooth. If necessary, cool until only slightly warm. Place about one teaspoonful (not a measuring teaspoon) onto the flat side of half the cookies. Try to place the melted chocolate in as round a circle as possible, and place it in the middle of the flat side. Place the chocolate-containing cookie's pair on top of it, flat side in, and press gently together (the chocolate in the middle need not come all the way to the edges of the cookie sandwich, but it should be close to the edges). You'll have 24 cookie sandwiches. Place the cookie sandwiches on the lined baking sheet; refrigerate just till chocolate is set.
Combine finely chopped chocolate and shortening in small heatproof bowl (you can use the same bowl you used for melting the chocolate to sandwich the cookies, if you wish). Place bowl over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl). Stir often until about half-melted. Remove from heat and hot water; dry bottom and sides of bowl. Stir until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Turn chocolate into a small cup (I use a custard cup--the cup you use must be as deep as, or slightly deeper than, the radius of the cookies); cool until chocolate is just slightly warm, stirring occasionally.
One at a time, pick the cookie sandwiches up from the lined baking sheet. Hold a sandwich with your fingers and dip it about halfway into the melted chocolate, then hold the dipped sandwich above the chocolate, shaking it gently, while the excess chocolate drips back into the custard cup. Replace the dipped sandwich on the lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cookie sandwiches. If the chocolate becomes too thick to work with as you're dipping, it has cooled too much; reheat it over simmering water briefly (water should not touch bottom of custard cup), stirring often, just until chocolate is slightly warm. You probably won't use all of the melted chocolate, but you'll need this much for a good dipping depth. Refrigerate the dipped sandwiches until the chocolate is set, then remove from refrigerator. Gently peel from baking sheet lining; store in airtight container with wax paper between layers.
Copyright © 1999 Francesca Chocolate Productions. All Rights Reserved.
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This page created December 1999
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