Who Put Chocolate in My Gingerbread?

A taste of Christmas with chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies.

Why, Martha Stewart, of course.

Take rich, dark, semi-sweet chocolate chunks. Pair them in a cookie of sticky molasses, ground cloves, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, plus fresh ginger, and you get a cookie that is chewy-licious. It’s like your favorite spicy gingerbread, but with the lushness of good dark chocolate to boot.

Even my husband, who is not always a fan of ginger (what’s up with that?), ate one cookie after another after these babies came out of the oven. See those hands above? Those are his, reaching yet again for another cookie.

“Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies” are from “Martha Stewart’s Cookies” (Clarkson Potter). If you haven’t already heard it by now, it’s become one of my favorite cookie books. I’ve made only about four of its 175 cookie recipes. But don’t be surprised if I bake my way through this book.

I could eat all of these. How about you?

The cookbook is the perfect holiday gift for any cookie-loving friend. Wrap it up with a few home-baked cookies. Well, if you can spare any, that is. In my household, that’s always a tough challenge.

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

(makes 2 dozen)

1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon freshly grated peeled ginger

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup unsulfered molasses

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water

7 ounces best-quality semi-sweet chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch chunks

1/4 cup granulated sugar

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and fresh ginger on medium speed until lightened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined

In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn onto plastic wrap. Pat out to a 1-inch thickness; seal with wrap. Refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Chill 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until surfaces just begin to crack, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating halfway through. Let cool 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Cookies are best the day they are made, but can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature for up to 5 days.

From “Martha Stewart’s Cookies”

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  • the recipe appears to be missing an egg? or is it supposed to be egg free?

  • Kiri, it is indeed an egg-free recipe.

  • I made this twice and found the baking soda/boiling water step to be unnecessary, I just added the baking soda. I used mini chips (instead of 1/4 inch chunks or normal sized chips) and found I liked the more even distribution of chocolate.

  • I have made these cookies the past two years with great success and rave reviews. Although the economy and time constraints are forcing me to whittle down my cookie list this year, this recipe has made the cut!

  • OK, I am officially re-thinking my intention of becoming a regular reader of this blog. I have a sincere fear that it will have a deleterious effect on my caloric will-power.

    Another recipe bookmarked for my “next year’s holiday cookies” pile. And of course I will have to test the recipe a time or two before then, just to be sure.

    Hrrmph — Thanks a lot, Carolyn!

  • Carroll, listen to the masses: This cookie is worth the calories! Plus, it’s the holidays. You have to treat yourself well after all that cooking, cleaning, hosting, and decorating. There’s no better way to do that than with a great cookie. And look at the photo, it’s a little cookie. Well, relatively, speaking. 😉

    Lauren, I agree that this cookie is worth making again and again. In fact, my husband is already asking me to make another batch.

    Janet, I concur. I, too, wondered about the need to add boiling water to the baking soda, especially when the water is in such a miniscule amount. Good to know you can use room-temp water without any adverse effects. And I like the idea of mini chips, as it would give you chocolate in every single bite.

  • I’ve got no one left to bake gifts for for the holidays but I certainly plan on making these and enjoying them for my own benefit 😉 They look so decadent!

  • Does anyone know why it’s impossible to find Dutch Process cocoa now? Honestly, I’ve tried maybe 4 different stores or more, none. I don’t know how to adjust a recipe for use with alkaline cocoa? (I think that’s the other kind, right?) These look great. I was going to say facetiously everything’s better with chocolate, then thought hm…what about bacon? The flavors of this cookie would go perfectly with bacon and they do have bacon in chocolate now…Man, I need help!

    On a more serious note, I did make house smoked spicy almonds this Thanksgiving and laced the bowl with candied bacon. Interesting phenomenon. Same as last year. People (all of whom used to LOVE my smoked nuts) begin picking out the candied bacon and passing the bowl around unconsciously chatting all the while, the lot of them, digging out the candied bacon. Should I skip the nuts altogether next time?!

  • I love these cookies and I definitely had you in mind when I made them. Who knew molasses and ginger would go so well with chocolate? I agree that this is one of the best cookbooks of the year and I put it the top of my list. But then what else can you expect from a true cookie fanatic.

  • Jacqueline, maybe the stores are out of Dutch-process cocoa because everyone’s making these cookies. And girl, you pass that bowl of candied bacon over here. Sounds finger-licking good.

  • Holy cow do these look amazing! I might have to give these a try! Thanks for the recipe. Oh and btw, great pictures.
    Dana Zia

  • i’ve made these before and they are so good!!! yum.

  • These sound absolutely amazing. Is there a law against making these all year round? Because I would. I especially love the addition of fresh ginger–and of course, the dark chocolate.

  • Hi Food Gal – I noticed your recipe calls for a 1.4 pound of butter which you equated to one stick. My one sticks of butter are one quarter cups. Do you really mean 1/4 pound of butter? Or a 1/4 cup of butter? Thanks!

  • I made these today and they were excellent. I did follow the recipe exactly (always do on the first time) but I wondered about why the second 20 min chilling was needed. The dough is still pretty cold after the initial shaping. What do you think? Scientific hubby wanted me to skip the step for one sheet and do it for the other, but I chickened out and just followed the instructions like a good girl…

  • Hi Courtnee, I checked the cookbook again, and it indeed says 1/4 pound of butter (1 stick). Hope that helps!

    Neeracha, that’s a good question about the chilling. And lord knows a cookie sheet takes up a lot of room in the fridge. Luckily, I had the space that particular day. Hmmm, I think in the winter, when your kitchen isn’t too warm to begin with, then you might be able to get away with not chilling the dough the second time around. But if you made this in the summer, it might be wise to chill again as the dough might get too sticky to work with. But I’ll have to experiment when I make then again. And believe me, I WILL make these babies again.

  • I have made that recipe and thank goodness I don’t have any hanging around now… I ate most of the batch by myself! They are soooo good!

  • Jenny Hattori Noll

    I had to laugh when I saw this recipe – as I have what I think is a cute story related to this book. My mom is an avid baker – and when this book came out I heard for 6 months about how bad she wanted it, but wouldn’t buy it because she didn’t want to pay full price, and Michael’s won’t let you use coupons on books anymore. So, being the dutiful daughter I am, decided to surprise her for X-mas with the book. One week before Christmas I to to her house, and what do I see but the book on her table – it was 20% off at Williams-Sonoma so she had bought it for herself….arghhhh!
    Now that I know this recipe is Carolyn approved, I will be putting in my request for these to be the first cookies made!

  • Jenny, that is too cute! You had good intentions, and of course, the important thing is that your Mom DID get the book. Anyone who loves baking cookies is sure to love this book. And I think you’ll agree once you try the chewy, chocolate gingerbread cookies, yourself.

  • Jenny Hattori Noll

    With your glowing endorsement, I have no doubt they will be added to my favorites list – and the even better news – my mom is making them for me today because I told her that you said they were a must bake!

  • Of course, yours will taste even better. The cookies will have that added special ingredient in them: a Mom’s love.

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  • I wonder, if one took out the rest of the spices, kept all the gingery goodness and added… though I’d have to see with the molasses… some mint? Maybe some lemon balm mint. I wonder if they’d be good. And maybe a little more summer palatable. I’m hooked on making a ginger cookie of some sort, but don’t want it to be too wintery warming. Think it could work? Playing up the fresh spicy side of ginger?

  • I just realized it was your post where you mentioned those tiny ginger snaps that got me hooked on baking a ginger cookie. I would totally go for just finding a perfect gingersnap recipe to try and create the mental taste your post conjured up, but I’m giving some to a friend who loves chocolate… I could make ginger snaps and dip them in chocolate, but I like chewy cookies, and those might not ship well in this weather….

    Anyway, thanks for the inspiration!

  • Amara: The molasses adds flavor, moistness, and color. So I’m not sure I’d leave it out of the recipe. I also remember reading a quote by a pastry chef who said something to the effect of: “Gingerbread is so marvelous. Why do we have to just eat it in the winter time?” I agree. Why regulate it to only a few months out of the year, when you love it so much. Truly, this cookie recipe is one to enjoy year-round. To make it more summery, you could even make ice cream sandwiches out of ’em.

  • Oh yes. These cookies are specTACular. I have made them several times in the past month and everyone who tries them says, “Oh my god.” And then after a few seconds, they look at the cookie in their hands with wide eyes and say, “Oh my GOD!”

    Yeah, they are on my “favorites” list.

  • Katie: Thanks for letting me know how much you adore these cookies. They’re perfect for fall, too, what with their wonderful warming spices.

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