I searched for a long time to find a soft ginger cookie that would match this Lemon Gelato Recipe. The recipe I finally found has many enviable merits:
- Strong molasses /ginger flavor
- Incredibly soft. In fact, in the week that it took us to eat all 40 of them (with friends! other people helped!), the cookies became softer every day; the ginger flavor intensified, too. This is the perfect cookie to make if you need something that won't go stale quickly. These would be fantastic care-package cookies.
- You add boiling water to the dough. Why is this a merit? Because there's no "cutting of butter" or "mix just until incorporated" - these cookies couldn't turn out tough if you tried
With all these merits worth detailing, this cookie is not - a very unfortunate not - so great for you (not that cookies are healthy food, but I'd rather eat butter than hydrogenated oils any day). It calls for 1/2 cup of vegetable shortening which amounts to a very small amount of trans fat per serving (even if you get "Trans fat free" shortening, don't be fooled). Next time I make these, I'll substitute butter or oil and see if they still hold their texture.
Super Soft Ginger Cookies
I had the same difficulty that other bakers noted: these cookies are messy to make, since the dough is so soft. But do not despair! Rather than refrigerating for an hour, I would suggest several hours of chill time. I left mine in the fridge overnight and had little difficulty forming them out of damp hands. Lots of excess sugar helped create that mouth-watering crumbly top, and a push in the center helped keep the cookies thin and flat. I kept these cookies non-fussy by removing the extra spices.
- 4 cups unbleached flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 5teaspoons baking powder
- 3 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup pure vegetable shortening
- 1 large egg, beaten to blend
- 1/2 cup boiling water
Add the flour, sugar and spices to a large bowl. Add molasses, shortening, and egg. Using electric mixer, beat until well blended. Beat in 1/2 cup boiling water. Chill dough 3-4 hour or overnight
Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly moisten your hands and roll chilled dough by generous tablespoonfuls into balls. Roll in additional sugar to coat. Place dough balls 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake until cookies are puffed and cracked on top and tester inserted into center comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 12 minutes (do not overbake). Transfer cookies to racks and cool.