So, I know Thanksgiving is still a couple days away. And yes yes, most of you have the whole thing about not “skipping over a whole holiday” and doing Christmas too early. But excuse me. Target has had Christmas stuff out for like a month and a half now, and I spend about half my life at Target. So, yeah, I’m ready for Christmas.
And you know what the best part of Christmas is? The cookies. Although I would also have accepted family, gifts, lights, music, hot chocolate, fireplaces, drinking or general merriness, if only that had fit into what I’m building to here. That’s right, gingerbread!
Chocolate gingerbread to be exact. If you haven’t had chocolate gingerbread before, just imagine all the warm, spiced flavors and holiday festiveness of gingerbread, but with chocolate added! You’re welcome for that well-crafted analogy.
For this, I like to make smaller cookies and give them fancy AF decorations so that they work well for holiday cocktail parties. They pair well with the Cranberry Orange Mules from Marie over at Happy Hour Collection, as pictured below. Plus they use the same bitters!
You will need:
- 2 and 2/3 cups flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder*
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 6 Tbsp butter, softened
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp Bittermens Elemakule Tiki bitters
*I use a dark cocoa powder to achieve the darker color of the cookies pictured. You can also use regular unsweetened cocoa powder, but your cookies will be more of a mocha color.
Preheat your oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Begin by adding the flour to a medium-large bowl. Make sure to spoon it into the measuring cup instead of scooping it, or you will end up with too much flour. Add the cocoa powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt and baking soda, and whisk all these together. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer and a large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar together until just a little fluffy. Add the egg, molasses and Tiki bitters and mix again until well combined. You can use vanilla extract in place of the Tiki bitters, but the bitters does give the cookie an extra warm spice.
Carefully add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture in 3-4 additions, mixing between each. You should end up with a dough that is thick and slightly sticky.
Roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch sheet. I do this on top of plastic wrap for less sticking and easier cleanup. This recipe usually makes for easy rolling for me, but if your rolling pin is sticking too much, just coat it in some flour.
Once the dough is rolled out, you can cut out whatever shapes you want. Just keep in mind that your baking time will change if you use a very large or very small cookie cutter, so just make a small batch first to test with. For a fairly standard (roughly 3 inch) cookie or a non-ginormous gingerbread man, they should need to bake for 8-10 minutes. I tend to make more bite-sized ones so that people can eat like 40 of them if they want, and those are normally done after about 6 minutes.
These cookies actually get better with age, oddly. I make them the day ahead of when I need them to give the flavors time to meld and strengthen.
Now, if you’re wondering how I got the beautiful metallic copper designs embossed onto the cookies in the photo, it was through my sheer artistic mastery. No, just kidding. As much as I would love to take credit for that technique, I 100% stole it from Julia Usher, a food writer who knows her way around a fancy cookie far better than I do. You can learn about her (now my) technique here. I do roll these cookies a little bit thicker than she does, and in this case I used a copper metallic dust instead of gold. Much like pretty much everything these days, you can find a variety of edible dusts online, especially on Amazon or Etsy.
As always, if you make this recipe for the holidays, I’d love to see it! Tag me on Instagram @nhubble or use the hashtag #followthatfork so I can see your awesome chocolate gingerbread creations! And of course you can tag Marie @happyhourCLE if you make her Cranberry Orange Mule recipe!