When you begin to see eggnog and candy canes filling the store shelves, you know that it must be close to Christmas! And the holidays just aren’t complete without some home-baked cookies. Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows that I absolutely enjoy baking, and my close friends know that I especially love cookies. Believe it or not, of all the Christmas cookies I’ve baked, I have never tried making my own gingerbread. This is because my experience with tasting store-bought gingerbread cookies has always been a hit or miss. I don’t like the heavy molasses and ginger taste that most places incorporate into their recipes, and I’ve found that most gingerbread cookies were too hard or dry. Perhaps I just haven’t had the opportunity to sample some high quality gingerbread cookies.
This recipe is a bit lighter on the overall gingerbread taste, with an added softness that I love about fresh cookies. To give it a bit of a kick, I’ve added some bittersweet chocolate and some dried cranberries (tart cherries could also work!) to give it a few additional layers of flavor on top of the gingerbread and I think the results of the pairings match quite well. I had a newfound love for gingerbread after this! These are drop cookies that come out soft and chewy and had the whole kitchen smelling of delicious Christmas goodness.
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dried cranberries or tart cherries
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 375oF.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat shortening on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, ginger, allspice, and salt; beat until combined.
Beat in molasses and egg until combined.
Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the stand mixer. Stir in any remaining flour with a wooden spoon. Stir in the dried cranberries and chocolate.
Drop dough by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for about 8 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
TO STORE: Layer cookies between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.