Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread
Let the annual cookie-thon begin! I apologize in advance for the change in quality of my pictures – most of these were taken with my handy iPhone, since I didn’t even think to take my camera with me as part of the cookie-making supplies. Nonetheless, I think they adequately represent the sheer absurdity of this cookie dough extravaganza.
This is the second annual Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Insanity. Parthy has been making them for much longer, but Alice and I just joined in the fun last year. Parthy has been telling us for years that these was the most difficult, time consuming cookie recipe in creation (Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration. I’m sure she has quite a few seriously high maintenance cookie recipes.) and for years we’ve been telling her we didn’t care, we still wanted to make them. So we did. And she’s right. This year I had broken thumbs to prove it. (Okay, not broken. But really, really sore.)So what’s the solution? Certainly not to avoid making these cookies; they’re far to delicious for that. The solution is… make as much dough as humanly possible all at once, so that you only have to put all the work in one time, but you can keep making cookies all season. For instance, the original recipe makes 2 dozen cookies. This year, Alice and Parthy each made 4x the recipe. I made 6x, because I have a lot of relatives really close by that I don’t feel like shopping for. (Just kidding. These cookies are exponentially better than any store-bought present.)
What follows is the cookie process from start to finish, more or less. I’ve annotated for your entertainment.
This is Alice’s batch. 4x the recipe means 4 sticks of butter, 1 cup of molasses, 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder, and 6 cups of flour. The bowl on the right, full of butter, is my batch. 6 sticks of butter. Don’t think about it.
More of my batch. 11 bars of Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate bars, broken into small chunks. This is how I broke my thumbs, and my chunks weren’t even as small as I wanted. Next year I’m going back to cutting them – it may take longer, but it works better and hurts less. And yes, in the middle is 9 cups of flour plus spices, and on the right is a half cup of fresh grated ginger.
Yes, that’s 3 cups of brown sugar being added to my 6 sticks of butter and half cup of ginger. This is my favorite part.
What seems like hours later, broken thumbs resting and mixing bowls (8 or so of them!) and measuring cups washed, and cookie dough carefully squashed into plastic wrap to chill for hours/days, until thumbs are repaired and people are ready to eat. I’m reasonably sure that pile of wrapped dough weighed in around 30 pounds. (But I never weighed it, and now some of it is gone, so you can’t hold me to that.)
And finally, the cookies themselves. Lovingly cookie-scooped and rolled in sugar and strategically aligned on an air bake cookie sheet.
And baked. Oh, baked. I swear, the hardest part of this whole recipe is keeping Calin from trying to eat the cookies off the pan while they’re still so soft that you can’t even pick them up without them disintegrating. Non-bakers really don’t believe you when you tell them they have to let things cool, just a very little bit, before you take them off the tray. Just a little bit. Really.
Last year I took my cookie dough and rolled it into little balls and then took the balls and a container of sugar with me to all my holiday parties. That way I could make fresh baked cookies at the drop of a hat, and everyone loved it. I’ll do the same thing this year, but I also plan to give some of them away (to relatives, remember?). I tried packaging them up this morning, and I think that part of the plan needs a little work. I love to under-bake my cookies, so these are gooey and soft and amazing, but that means that they don’t exactly stack or package so well. I’m still working on this. It’s not like they’re less tasty. They’re just a little … messier than most cookies in gift bags. And sometimes they break when you try to put them in.
I have to eat those. You can’t give away broken cookies.