Holiday cookies are interesting. All of a sudden, despite loving chocolate chip cookies 340 days of the year, those last 25 days, if you stick a chocolate chip cookie in my face, I’ll pass. See, I’d rather have something nutty or jammy or buttery or spiced. I want airy sugar-coated snowballs and shortbreads in all flavors and crinkly crackly beauties filling my cookie tray. (Side note: there are A LOT of cookie recipes on this site.)
But mostly, I want these spiced ginger cookies. They’re full of all of the spices I associate with winter: cinnamon and nutmeg and cloves and molasses and (obvi) ginger. Your home smells like Christmas as they bake, better than any holiday candle and guaranteed to put you in a good mood. Caught unawares by all of this cheer, you may randomly burst into song (preferably like this).
I don’t want to overpraise them and raise expectations too high, but these cookies travel well, in case you’d like to send your holiday goodness to friends near and far. They also get even better on Day 2, with the flavor of gingerbread and the texture of a snowball — crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. Rolling them in turbinado sugar before baking makes them a little sparkly and festive, without having to mess around with fussy decorations. They are the perfect cookie to pair with a cup of tea and a good book, or a hot toddy and a lazy evening in front of the fire.
These spiced ginger cookies are basically December perfection, and, since each batch makes 5 dozen cookies, you’ll have plenty for friends AND for yourself, and well, isn’t that the most important thing this time of year?
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- a pinch of ground cloves
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1-1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup molasses
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- 1/2 cup turbinado (raw) sugar
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda and salt.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter into the flour mixture for 2 minutes, until the mixture looks like wet sand. Add the molasses and milk, then beat until just combined. (I found that this was easiest with a spatula and some elbow grease.) Use your hands to knead the dough just until it comes together (no need to get serious here -- you're just bringing it together). Divide into two halves and double-wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 2 hours, until the dough is firm.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Shape the dough into 36 tablespoon-sized balls. Roll each ball in the turbinado sugar, then place on the baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes, until the cookies are set but slightly soft in the center. Cool for 10 minutes before carefully transferring the cookies to a wire rack. (You may have to bake the cookies in batches.) Let cool completely before serving.