Cookie time again. I brought a batch of these with me when I worked at the polls Tuesday. I suppose there are folks who don’t like this sort of dark, chewy, spicy cookie, but there aren’t many. The original recipe, which I got out of the Back in the Day Cookbook from a few years ago made them with a quarter-cup of dough each, which made for immense cookies that spread more than the suggested 2 inches between each bit of unbaked dough would allow. I’ve changed the recipe to reflect how smaller ones can be managed.
The crowning touch is the turbinado sugar in which the dough is rolled before going onto the baking sheets. It’s great to make the crusty edges and exterior. I suppose you could use coarse sugar for that step, but I can’t guarantee it, and now that I have turbinado on hand, I may try using it for other cookies, like peanut butter.
The bad news is, it does dirty up several bowls; the good news is, it’s ingredients that, except for the turbinado, I pretty much always have on hand. When you measure your molasses, grease your measuring cup first. It’ll save you having to wait for the slow-as molasses drip out, or having to rubber-spatula it out.
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. fine sea salt
½ c. vegetable shortening (like Crisco) room temperature
6 Tbs. butter, room temperature
1 ½ c. packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 c. dark molasses
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 c. turbinado sugar
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Set aside.
If you’re using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment, or just in a large bowl, use a handheld mixer, to beat the shortening, butter and brown sugar together on medium speed until smooth, creamy and light in color, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down as needed, including after the last egg. Add the molasses and ginger, and mix on low for 1 minute. Add the flour mixture in thirds – the original recipe calls for doing this as the mixer is running, but I suspect if you stop the mixer, sprinkle the flour all over the batter and re-start the mixer slowly, it would work. Just mix until thoroughly incorporated, no more than 2 minutes.
Transfer the dough to another bowl if necessary so you can refrigerate it, and finish mixing with a rubber spatula to make sure no bits of flour or butter are on the bottom of the bowl. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour. (The dough can be refrigerated if wrapped well for up to 4 days.)
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line your cookie sheets with parchment. This is a sticky dough and the cookies come out very soft.
Put the turbinado sugar in a small bowl. I ended up using about a rounded tablespoon of dough for my optimal size cookie. Whatever size you choose, roll it into a rough ball and then roll in the sugar to coat completely. Space well apart on the baking sheet, flatten slightly and sprinkle on a little more of the turbinado sugar.
Bake one sheet at a time. This is one recipe that you really should follow those instructions to turn the pan around halfway through the baking time. The big quarter-cup ones should go for 15-18 minutes, and be puffy. (The recipe says they should be golden brown. They go in the oven brown; golden is impossible to discern, I find.) The ones I made went 13-15 minutes, and I might leave them in a little longer the next time.
Slide them, on the parchment, onto wire racks and let cool completely. The cookies will be soft in the middle and slightly crunchy on the edges. I do find that overnighting them in a cookie tin softens the edges, and of course the flavors evolve, too.
Yield? Your call.