As I write this post snow is softly falling outside, turning my little city into a winter wonderland. In the five winters that Brian and I have spent in Virginia, we've never seen a snowfall like this. Its breathtakingly beautiful, the 22-inches we've received so far softening the landscape with a blanket of white, turning our street into an unrecognizable scene dotted with pedestrians in bright winter parkas out enjoying the snow.
Holed up inside for the day, I managed to pull myself away from the window for about an hour to satisfy the urge to bake. An urge that is unavoidable when your outside world is blanketed with snow and inside, curled up in your favorite chair, under a quilt, with hot coffee (and perhaps a splash of Bailey's Irish Cream...), you are toasty warm and feeling very domestic. I'll share the cake that I just pulled from the oven in the next day or two, but on this snowy afternoon I feel it appropriate to give you a recipe for some chewy ginger cookies. They feel so very 'snow day', the perfect snack waiting on the counter when you come in from making snowmen and snow angels.
Ginger cookies have been a longtime favorite in our household, but I do believe that this is the first time I've ever made them myself. I've helped my momma on many past Christmas Eves to roll out perfect little balls of ginger snap dough, the delightfully crunchy cookies a staple between meals on Christmas day. But last year Brian and I were introduced to a different variety of ginger cookie, one that was chewy rather than crispy in texture, and laced with chunks of crystallized ginger. Brian declared them his favorite cookie, ever, and I vowed to find a recipe to replicate them prior to the next Christmas. Lucky for me, Bon Appetit read my mind.
We love the soft, chewy interior texture of these cookies, complemented perfectly by the crunchy shell of turbinado sugar that coats the exterior. The bits of crystallized ginger throughout are wonderful surprises.
Position 1 rack in top third of oven, 1 rack in bottom third; preheat to 350*. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk together flour, crystallized ginger, baking soda and 1/4 tsp salt in a medium bowl.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter until creamy and light in a separate bowl for about 2 minutes. Gradually add brown sugar and beat on medium-high speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg, molasses, fresh ginger, ground ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Beat to blend.
Add flour mixture to wet mixture in two additions, beating on low speed just to blend between additions.
Place 1/2 cup of turbinado sugar in small bowl. Measure 1 tbsp of dough (a 1-tbsp ice cream scoop works really well) and roll into a ball between palms of hands. Roll dough in sugar and place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cookie dough, spacing cookies 1-1/2 to 2-inches apart.
Bake cookies until surfaces crack and cookies are firm around edges but still slightly soft in center, about 15 minutes. Cool completely on sheets on rack.