I doubt that my mother would have objected adding chocolate to anything--especially gingerbread! These BIG cookies make the perfect lunchbox, after school, or even late night snack and the hint of ginger and molasses mixed with cocoa adds a new twist to this old favorite.
Big gingerbread cookies was one of Kelly's favorite, not only to bake, but to give as gifts. I'd like to think she would have added these to her recipe file for friends and family to enjoy. Recently, I shared that Kelly had won a Pushcart Prize for an essay and just a few days ago, her husband, Matt sent me an email of an essay contest, by the English department of the University of Kentucky, where she taught. The recipient is asked to write an essay exemplifying qualities that Kelly brought to her students in her classes. One thing I remember, when Kelly was here for Christmas two years ago, was talking with me about inspiring writers in her classes to bring personal traditions into their writing from the assignments she gave them to read. She said to me, "you know, Mom, like the stories you've told us of baking with Grandma, the reason you baked it, or the family tradition it came from."
So much of my baking is inspired by my mother, even though I create new recipes from ones I've known. The basic foundation of my baking comes from my helping in the kitchen, planning holiday meals, and the never-ending gift giving of baked goods to family and friends. Next week, when I travel to Kentucky to see Ari, once again we will be in the kitchen baking together. I want him and Maddie to know where our traditions come from and expand on those traditions when they are grown and have families of their own, like Erin and Kelly have done.
Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 large egg
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/3 cup mini ginger chips (optional, but really good!)
Sparkling White Sugar
Preheat oven to 350F-degrees (345F-degrees convection) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the mixing bowl of the KitchenAid, using the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars thoroughly. Add the molasses and egg and mix together.
In a separate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients (from the cocoa to the salt) and use a whisk to combine completely. Add to the butter/sugar batter, along with the mini ginger chips, if using, and on medium speed, blend well until all dry ingredients have been incorporated.
Pour, about 1/2 cup of the Sparkling White Sugar in a plate (or large bowl). Scoop up the dough in a one-quarter scoop (or smaller if you want a smaller cookie), form into a ball, and roll in the sugar.
Place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 6 minutes, then, rotate baking sheet and bake an additional 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool about 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack.
The crackled tops tell you it's a gingerbread cookie, but the richness of the chocolate comes through when you bite into it.
Bake cookies with your children and tell them a story of when you were little--watch there eyes light up. Enjoy!