If I had to pick only one kind of cookie to eat for the rest of my life, I think I’d pick a soft ginger cookie. Specifically, these.
I first tried one of these wonders at Whit and Dave’s (aka The Wave) holiday party. The cookie blew my mind. I think I ate 5 that night. This was years ago, back when they still lived off of Franklin Street. When I first moved back to SF and was homeless for a month or two, I spent more than a few nights at that apartment in their spare closet-converted bedroom getting some of the best sleep of my life. So dark and cozy. Not unlike the inside of a ginger cookie, come to think of it. But, I digress…
Whit is the best baker I know. She has a whisk of gold and that magic touch. In 5th grade, I would go over to her house and we would bake together. Cookies, cakes, heart-shaped pizzas for Valentine’s Day. One day we baked a chocolate cake that called for confectioner’s sugar. We didn’t know what that meant, so we just used regular white sugar. The cake turned out like a mud bath, jiggly and grainy and completely unsuitable for eating, but perfect for squishing between our hands. We made gooey, wobbly patties and called them babycakes. I like to think we topped them with whipped cream and served them to her family anyway, but I can’t remember. It’s entirely possible that poor babycakes went straight into the trash.
This ginger cookie recipe, adapted slightly by Whit, comes straight out of Bon Appetit’s March 2000 issue. 15 years ago, my friends. It’s a classic. A few tips: I recommend using a rounded teaspoon’s worth of dough to make each cookie ball. I made them a little too big and some the dough ran together while baking (tastes just as good but looks a little messy). Also, the cookies might not seem completely done when you take them out of the oven. That’s ok! You want them soft. They are crowd pleasers, I promise.
Babycakes’ Ginger Spice Cookies
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Makes about 30
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1/4 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses
Combine first 6 ingredients in medium bowl; whisk to blend. Mix in crystallized ginger. Using electric mixer, beat brown sugar and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add egg and molasses and beat until blended. Add flour mixture and mix just until blended. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter 2 baking sheets. Spoon cinnamon sugar (ratio should be 1/4 cup sugar to 1 tablespoon cinnamon) in thick layer onto small plate. Using wet hands, form dough into 1 1/4-inch balls; roll in cinnamon sugar to coat completely. Place balls on prepared sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.
Bake cookies until cracked on top but still soft to touch, about 12 minutes. Cool on sheets 1 minute. Carefully transfer to racks and cool. Cookies can be made 5 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
Serve solo or with vanilla bean ice cream. You could make ice cream sandwiches. Just sayin.