Cookie of the Month: Dressing up brownie cookie with ginger

The holidays are over, and yet I hang onto them. I always reluctantly enter the Christmas season, but by the time it comes then goes, I’m so overtaken and in love with the holidays that I mourn hard when that time is  over. I even love the stress of the holidays. It gives shape and direction to dark days. But I’ve realized the last few years that 90 percent of my holiday anxiety (even despair) is due to one thing — I don’t have enough time to bake all the cookies I want.

It’s my annual holiday lament. And one of the hardships of us foodies. We place lots of pressure on ourselves to bake and cook, all the time, and during the holidays it gets particularly bad. I feel the push to bake every cookie recipe  flung my way each late November through December, and when I “run out of time,” there is a cry in the dark.

But it’s 2020 now, and it’s time to take action Instead of feeling helpless to my ineptitude at conquering an impossible cookie calendar, I’m taking charge. I’m going to make a different wish list cookie every month this year and share it with you. 

Let’s start with the The New York Times recipe that haunted my December days. NYT Cooking is relentless in its onslaught of cookie recipes and videos every year. They don’t leave me alone, and I want to make every single one I see. 

The Gingery Brownie Crinkle Cookies sold themselves in every way…they resembled chocolate crinkle cookies verging on brownie splats (a favorite), heavily chocolate (via three ways: cocoa, melted dark chocolate and bittersweet chocolate chips), low flour content to keep them gooey and chewy and the surprising twist of ginger. A little grated fresh ginger is added to the batter and shards of golden candied ginger dress up the cookies’ tops.

I was intrigued from the moment I saw the video, which also promised the cookies could be whipped up quickly, a selling point for holiday time or beyond. In late December (and again in January), I baked batches of this can’t-miss recipe.

When I made the cookies, before I got to all that chocolate, I prepped my ginger, grating a little from a fresh root (I usually have some on hand…it freezes nicely to store longer) and chopping some candied ginger I had for other baking (and an occasional piece for snacking). 

I blended the dry ingredients of just 1/3 cup of flour, cocoa powder (also 1/3 cup), baking powder and salt..

The recipe instructs to melt bittersweet chocolate and butter using the double-boiler method on the stovetop, but I usually just melt using the microwave, and it turns out fine. Maybe I’m committing some sort of affront here, but I usually find if you don’t let the microwave run for too long between stirrings, it melts evenly and smoothly.

Eggs and granulated and brown sugars are beaten until pale and fluffy, about five minutes, then the grated ginger and vanilla are beaten in.

The melted chocolate that has cooled a bit is added to the egg mixture to combine.

The flour mixture is added to this and it becomes a brownie-like batter.

I used Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips for this…they are large and full of flavor.

While the recipe said the cookie batter would be runny, mine seemed to be a stiffer dough, about the consistency of a soft drop cookie. I was actually glad they were not “runny,” preferring cookies that are a little thicker, with some shape. I placed golden ginger slices on each soft, dark, unbaked mound.

The cookies came out of the oven crinkly, cracked and irresistibly chocolatey, smelling of brownies and a hint of ginger. My only criticism of my own result was the spreading of the ginger pieces so they were a bit offsides and scattered to the edges of the cookies (this warranted future makings to try piling more smaller pieces in the centers of the cookies).

But, oh boy, was this a recipe worth making! Rich, fudgy/chewy texture, deep, perfect chocolate flavor, the melting of the bittersweet chips adding extra chocolate and that whiff of spicy ginger, inside and out, to highlight the cookies’ flavor complexity. Ginger becomes another perfect pairing companion (like raspberry, orange, coffee and cinnamon) to chocolate. It’s a cookie deserving of month one in 12 months of cookie recipes. Wait, only 12? Well, it’s a start…

Gingery Brownie Crinkle Cookies

From https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1020655-gingery-brownie-crinkle-cookies

Makes 20 cookies

⅓ cup all-purpose flour

⅓ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder

¾ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70 percent), broken or chopped into

pieces

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (about 2/3 cup)
  • 8 to 10 pieces candied ginger slices (about 2 1/2 ounces), thinly sliced crosswise

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Combine the 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate and the butter in a small heatproof bowl that fits on top of a small saucepan without falling in.

Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in the saucepan over high, reduce to a simmer, then set the bowl on top. Stir occasionally until completely melted. Remove bowl from saucepan to cool slightly.

Combine eggs, granulated sugar and light brown sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Beat on medium speed to combine, scraping down the sides once. Increase speed to high and beat until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.

Add the ginger and vanilla. Beat to combine.

Add the melted chocolate mixture and beat on medium speed to combine.

Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Remove bowl from mixer, scrape sides and fold a few times to make sure everything is well combined.

Add the 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips and fold to combine.

Use a small cookie scoop to scoop dough (which will be pretty runny) into generous 1-tablespoon portions. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets, setting each scoop 3 inches apart.

Top each cookie with a good pinch of candied ginger. Bake until surface is crinkled and edges are firm, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating sheets from front to back and top to bottom halfway through.

Let cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets, and transfer them to a wire rack to cool further. Scoop any remaining dough onto one of the baking sheets — it’s O.K. to reuse the parchment — and repeat. Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.

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