These are my very favorite holiday cookies! This recipe came in the Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookie annual email series in 2008, I believe, and I made them as soon as I got home from college that winter break. I love that they are crackly on the outside and soft on the inside — they were a big hit at our holiday party last weekend.
from Food Network Kitchens, with just a couple small changes – I didn’t add ginger preserves, and shortened the cooking time
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 5 cracks freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus more for rolling the cookies
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
Whisk the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, mustard, salt and black pepper together in a medium bowl.
Beat the butter and the sugars with a hand mixer electric mixer on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat on medium speed until just incorporated, about 20 seconds. Add the molasses and continue beating until the batter is an even light brown color, 30 seconds more.
Add the dry ingredients all at once, beating slowly to make a soft, smooth dough. Use a rubber spatulato make sure all ingredients are combined. Then beat again for 20 seconds. Cover the bowl with plastic and refrigerate the dough until firm, about 25 minutes.
Put about 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl. With a cookie scoop or a small ice cream scoop, portion the dough into a slightly heaping tablespoon for each cookie. Roll the dough, by hand, into balls, and flatten slightly. Roll the tops of the balls in the sugar, and space them 2 inches apart on a nonstick or lightly oiled cookie sheet. Refrigerate until firm, about 25 minutes. (The chilling is what gives this cookie a beautiful, crackly crunch on top, and a soft, chewy center.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Bake until the top is crackly, and the insides peeking out through are dark and moist but not raw, about 12-15 minutes. Briefly cool the cookies on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely.
Serve or store in a tightly sealed container for up to 3 weeks.