Here’s the classic gingersnap with a chocolate twist. The cookies are thin, waferlike, and crisp, spiked with molasses and ginger. With a cup of tea, they’re the perfect antidote to a cold winter night—or the right accompaniment to a crisp fall afternoon.
MAKES ABOUT 3 DOZEN SMALL COOKIES
1 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting
3 tablespoons cocoa powder, preferably natural, sifted
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1⁄2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1⁄4 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 cup solid vegetable shortening (2 ounces)
1⁄4 cup molasses, preferably unsulphured
1⁄4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg white, at room temperature
1. Position the racks in the bottom and top thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray two large baking sheets with nonstick spray; set aside. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl until uniform; set aside as well.
2. Beat the shortening, molasses, and brown sugar in a large bowl until creamy, using an electric mixer at medium speed. Continue beating until amber brown and very fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg white.
3. Remove the beaters and stir in the prepared flour mixture with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir just until thick and lush if still slightly grainy—the batter should be the same color it was before the flour was added; it should not lighten.
4. Dust a clean, dry work surface with flour, then gather the dough into a ball, place it on the work surface, and press down lightly with your hands, just until it looks like a flattened basketball. Dust a rolling pin lightly with flour, dust the top of the dough itself with a fine film of flour, then roll it out to a large circle, about 16 inches in diameter and 1⁄4 inch thick (see Note).
5. Using a 2-inch cookie cutter or a glass with a 2-inch-diameter lip, cut out round cookie disks, then transfer them to the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart. If desired, reroll the dough scraps, dusting lightly with flour, to create more cookies.
6. Bake for 4 minutes, then rotate the sheets top to bottom and back to front. Continue baking for about 4 more minutes, or until the cookies are firm and crisp. Cool on the baking sheets for 1 minute, then gently transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool. If baking additional batches, allow the baking sheets to cool to room temperature, then spray them with nonstick spray again before proceeding.
NOTE: For crackerlike cookies, roll the dough even thinner, to about 1⁄8-inch thickness.
Reduce the baking time by 1 minute.
1 week at room temperature
3 months in the freezer
Make sandwich cookies using the white cream filling from the Chocolate Cream Sandwich
Cookies . Add 1 teaspoon ground ginger to the filling with the confectioners’ sugar.
Ice the cookies with the white icing in the Black Black and Whites . Omit the chocolate from the icing and simply make a large batch of the white vanilla icing. Let the iced cookies stand on a wire rack, set over a sheet of wax paper, for about 1 hour, or until the icing has hardened.