Introduction: Michelle's Super Soft Gingerbread Cookies

As a little girl, one of my favorite things about the holidays was making gingerbread houses with my mother. My mom's gingerbread was thick and spicy, and I couldn't wait to build my house just so I could tear it apart and eat it.

These cookies were born out of those memories. Instead of the rigid cookies that edible-house building requires, these cookies are soft and chewy. They're also heavy on the spices, with lots of rich molases, cinnamon, and - of course - GINGER! I think they're perfect for the winter, and go great with a nice mug of spiked apple cider. 


Step 1: Step 1: Get Ready

First, Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Then, gather your ingredients:
   * 3 cups flour (I prefer unbleached, "all-purpouse" flour for this recipe.)
   * 4 teaspoons ground ginger
   * 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
   * 1 teaspoon ground cloves
   * 1 teaspoon baking soda
   * 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
   * 1/4 teaspoon salt
   * 3/4 cup margarine
   * 1/2 cup  brown sugar
   * 1/2 cup white sugar
   * 1 egg
   * 1 tablespoon apple cider (OR orange juice)
   * 3/4 cup molasses (Use the full flavor, or even the "Robust" - if you can handle it!)
   * small pile (a few tablespoons) white sugar in a shallow dish

Step 2: Step 2: Prepare Your Dry Ingredients

Sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. (If you don't have a fancy flour sifter - feel free to use a fine mesh strainer!) Stir with a fork to combine well.

Step 3: Step 3: Prepare Your Wet Ingredients

Using an electric mixer, beat the margarine, butter, brown sugar, and white sugar on high until light and fluffy. Next, beat in the egg,  apple cider (or OJ), and molasses. Beat everything by hand or with the mixer until it's smooth and mixed well.

Step 4: Step 4: Mix the Dough

Gradually stir the wet ingredients into the dry mixture, and finally, blend everything fully. The dough will be very sticky!

At this point, If you have time, I'd highly recommend covering the bowl and sticking it in the fridge for 30 minutes. This will make the dough firmer and much easier to handle.

If you don't have time, you could use two spoons to make dough balls - I usually end up abandoning this process and just diving right in with my (well-washed) hands!

Step 5: Step 5: Prepare to Bake

Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and plop the dough balls 2 inches apart onto your cookie sheet.

Next, wet the flat bottom of a glass, and dip the bottom into the dish with extra sugar.

Use this sugar-coated surface to flatten the cookies to about 1/2 inch thick. (Don't skip this step - the cookies won't flatten on their own!)

Step 6: Step 6: Bake, and Enjoy!

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cookies are done when the middle of the cookie is no longer shiny and wet-looking, the cookie center resists your fingerprint, and when your whole kitchen smells like warm, spicy goodness. (Depending on your oven, you may have to bake a little longer.)

Let the cookies cool for a few minutes and then transfer them off of the cookie tray onto another surface to cool. (Don't overlap the cookies as they cool - they will stick together!) Once cool, you can store the cookies in an airtight container with a piece of parchment in between - that is, IF you have any left over!

Step 7: Step 7: BONUS ROUND

If you want a REAL treat, and you have some ice cream in your freezer, make ice cream sandwiches! I made mine with some home-made Cinnamon Ice Cream, and it was a real winner!

Simply let the ice cream soften a little bit, then slather a few spoonfuls on a cookie.

Place a similarly-sized cookie on top, and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Smush a little bit to distribute the ice cream fully and freeze for a few hours. It's the perfect winter treat to enjoy next to the fireplace!

Comments

author
bakerguy (author)2011-12-25

Just tried your recipe and they came out great, thanks! I'm not a frequent baker so I left the second batch in a little too long but they still came out well, just crispier instead of chewy. Also, I substituted unsalted butter for the margarine. Really nice Christmas day baking!

author
mizzchelle (author)bakerguy2011-12-26

Hey Bakerguy,

Happy to hear that you liked the recipe!

I've tried using butter instead of margarine for health reasons (I try to avoid partially-hydrogenated anything) but in my experience the cookies were less chewy with the butter. I'm glad the cookies still came out allright.

I love baking these around the winter holidays - the whole house smells so spicy and delicious.

Merry Christmas!

author
mizzchelle (author)2011-12-19

If you have an ice cream maker, I *HIGHLY* recommend trying a cinnamon ice cream with these (maybe that should be my next Instructable?) Or if not, a nice vanilla bean would be great too...

author
jessyratfink (author)2011-12-17

Great photos. :D And they look super delicious!

author
mizzchelle (author)jessyratfink2011-12-19

Thanks a lot! I hope you give them a try!

author
Penolopy Bulnick (author)2011-12-17

Delicious! Nice idea putting them with ice cream!

author
mikeasaurus (author)2011-12-17

mmm...gingerbreadicecreamcookies!

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Bio: I'm a nurse by day and an insomniac baker/craft maker by night.
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