If Dorie Greenspan has “the cake that got (her) fired”, then I’m going to start calling these “the cookies that got my bags tossed by the TSA.”  Here in London, it’s hard if not impossible to find good, southern unsulfured molasses, so when I go home on my annual pilgrimage to see my fam, I stock up on things that I need in my kitchen:  Molasses … Crystal … Old Bay … spices from the Dekalb Farmers Market (so ridiculously cheap!).

Unfortunately, the TSA screeners don’t automatically think “kitchen supplies” when they see the outlines of bottles and tubs when x-raying my suitcase, so every year – without fail – my bags are tossed.  All that careful packing and organizing I do in Atlanta is a thing of the past by the time I pick up my bags in London.

But these cookies are worth it.  I have made them every year since Martha published the recipe 10 or so years ago and haven’t been tempted to alter a single thing.  They are the perfect balance between chocolatey and spicey with the sugar on the outside giving a little bit of crunch to the chewiness.  Definitely one you’ll want to add to your annual repetoir.

Martha’s Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread

  • 1 1/2 cups + 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder (I like Green and Black’s)
  • 1/4 lb butter
  • 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger (a piece aroung the length of your thumb)
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp boiling water
  • 7 oz dark chocolate, bashed into pieces
  • demerera sugar (sold as Sugar in the Raw in the US)

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, ground spices and cocoa and set aside.  In the bowl of a mixer, cream the butter with the grated ginger until fluffy.  Mix in the brown sugar then add the molasses, mixing thoroughly and scraping down the sides.  Add the broken up chocolate pieces and half the flour mixture and mix.  In a small cup, mix the boiling water and baking soda, then pour into the mix and finish with the last half of the flour.  Mix until the flour disappears.

You may want to glove up for this – the batter is a bit messy.  You’ll also definitely want to line your baking sheets with parchment paper for this recipe.  Roll a heaping teaspoon of the batter into a ping-pong sized ball, then roll it in the sugar before placing it on a lined baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes – the cookies will still be slightly puffed when you taken them out of the oven but will deflate when cooling.  The reason you want to line the sheets with parchment is that it’s easier to simply pull the sheet in its entirety onto a cooling rack rather than spatula the cookies while they’re hot.  Let them cool for 5 or so minutes before moving them off the paper and onto the rack so that they’ll maintain their shape.

Seriously.  Give these cookies a try – you’ll understand why I risk a full body search every year.

the best Christmas cookies. EVER.