I set out to make a cookie reminiscent of good-old fashioned gingerbread cake. When I managed to achieve this, it occurred to me that if I called them gingerbread cookies, it would bring to mind the crispy, crunchy type – like gingerbread men or tree ornaments. That is not what these lovelies are at all. These little pillowy cushions of cakey, gingerbread goodness are something altogether different. These cookies are rich with molasses, tangy with buttermilk and spiced with fresh ginger and ground for deep ginger hit, complemented by cinnamon and nutmeg.
These cookies are amazing with a glass of egg nog or plain milk, or beside a mug of mulled cider or hot chocolate. You can make these smaller or larger, and the recipe is easily doubled if you need a big batch to tote to a cookie swap or party. These work equally well plain or with the simple glaze on top and you can then go to town decorating with sprinkles or colored sugar, or add an extra hint of ginger with a sprinkling of diced candied ginger.
Take your pick – you can use a cookie scoop slightly smaller than 1 Tablespoon or one slightly larger than a Tablespoon.
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup molasses
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup buttermilk
For the Glaze:
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 ½ Tablespoons (more or less) milk
Dash vanilla extract
Diced candied ginger, colored sprinkles or sanding sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 3 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, the molasses, vanilla extract and grated fresh ginger until combined. The mixture may look slightly curdled but don’t worry.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and spices and toss with a fork to combine. Turn the mixer on slow, and add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately in three additions, ending with the buttermilk and scraping down the sides as needed.
Use a cookie scoop to scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets and bake for 7 – 9 minutes until the tops of the cookies are puffed and firm.
Cool for two minutes on the baking sheets, then remove to a wire rack to cool.
For the glaze:
Sift the powdered sugar into a small bowl and beat in the milk and vanilla to the desired consistency. You can go for a light glaze that drips over the side or a thicker, spreadable glaze. Spread the glaze on the cookies and top with candied ginger or sprinkles.
Makes 2 ½ dozen large, or 3 ½ dozen smaller cookies