Chocolate gingerbread cut-out cookies

chocolate gingerbread cut-out cookies

Baking gingerbread cookies is the most enduring tradition in my household.

I grew up baking cut out cookies with my mom and then we’d paint them with a simple milk and icing sugar frosting. My brothers, sisters and I would spend half a day at the kitchen table with bowls of tinted frosting, red and green sprinkles and little silver balls, decorating dozens of cookies and listening to Roger Whittaker’s Christmas album. To this day the song Darcy the Dragon takes me back to the kitchen table in the house where I grew up.

chocolate gingerbread cut-out cookies

I still love painting Christmas cookies and my kids consider it a sacred Holiday tradition so there is at least one day before Christmas when we all sit down to an afternoon of painting, usually with a few friends.

My kids are masters of the one-tonne cookie, a cookie that is so loaded with icing and sprinkles that you need a spatula to lift it off the table and onto a plate to dry.

cookie painting

Whatever you bake for the Holidays, you’ll notice that it’s not so much the finished product that creates the memories, but the whole process…

For me it’s digging out the cookie cutters, and having my kids by my side at the counter as we roll, press and lift the cut-outs onto the cookie sheet.  It’s the sweet and spicy smell of the house when the cookies are in the oven and the giggles in the kitchen as we paint and sprinkle away.

chocolate gingerbread cut-out cookies

This chocolate gingerbread recipe is a new take on gingerbread cut-out cookies. They have an intense chocolaty flavour but aren’t overly sweet, making them perfect for decorating and sandwiching. The dough is soft and barely needs flour for rolling. If you want the cookies to be harder just bake them a little longer.

chocolate gingerbread cut-out cookies

Chocolate gingerbread cut-out cookies

From Food & Wine magazine

  • 3 ¼ cups flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. cloves
  • 1 Tbsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ cup + 2 Tbsp. butter
  • ½ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 lg. egg
  • ½ cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted

 

  1. In a medium bowl whisk the flour with the cocoa, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  2. In a large bowl beat the softened butter with the brown sugar until fluffy.
  3. Beat in the egg, then molasses, then melted chocolate.
  4. Add the flour mixture in three batches, incorporating well between additions.
  5. Scrape dough from bowl and divide into three equal pieces. Pat each piece into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled.
  6. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to about ¼” thick.  (You really won’t need much flour.)
  7. Place cut-out cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake at 350 F for about 7 minutes.

This lovely dough is a synch to mix and roll:

 Chocolate gingerbread cut-out cookies

Chocolate gingerbread cut-out cookies

One more thing…

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Chocolate jumbos and warm-all-over molasses memories

 

I love a good molasses story. They always involve happy memories of moms and grandmothers and what’s not to love about a story that makes you feel good all over? I bet you have your own molasses memories and may be reading this post will take you back to a warm kitchen.

That’s what this story did for me. It came from Sandy Bowers, a lover of molasses from New York State.

This is what she told me:

  • “When I was a little girl (back in the 1940’s) I used to always look forward to going to my grandmother’s house and help her bake Chocolate Jumbos. I think the recipe has been a family favorite for many years. Grandma would mix and bake the cookies and I would put the frosting on them. Everybody loved Grandma’s Chocolate Jumbos and they are still a favorite in our family today. A good old fashioned recipe and always made with lots of love!! I am so glad they were a hit with your family and friends and that the recipe will be passed on to others. God Bless!”

When Sandy sent me the recipe I made it right off the bat because I can’t resist family favourites. The recipe got me thinking about my grandmother’s soft molasses cookies and how my mom used to make them as jam-filled thumbprint cookies. Since we’re into jam season that’s how I made Sandy’s Chocolate Jumbos (this time). Next time I’ll frost them just as she does.

Chocolate Jumbos

  • 1 cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 1/2 cups of flour

Mix together molasses, sugar, shortening, spices & eggs. Then mix in cocoa dissolved in hot water. Fold in baking soda and flour. (Sandy says hand mixing makes a better batter than machine mixing).

Chill mixture until firm.

Turn out onto a lightly-floured surface and roll to ¼” thickness.

Using a donut cutter cut out cookies and bake at 375 F degrees for 9 minutes.

Let cool and then frost them with your favourite vanilla frosting.

Five minute chocolate sauce

five minute chocolate sauce is dense and fudgy

I was thinking this morning that I didn’t have the greatest weekend. I was thinking of all the things we didn’t get to do and feeling a little sad that my husband unexpectedly had to work all weekend. So no family hike, no car so no movie with the kids and no eggs so no baking cookies.

But then I thought, “Wait!”

What was I thinking? I have nothing to complain about. Nothing. It was sunny. We played outside. The street is now filled with chalk castles. There is a new bike ramp off the deck. Last night we crawled into freshly made beds, under sheets that that had blown dry in the sun and smelled like spring. My daughter lost a tooth and the Tooth Fairy made a credible recovery when the toonie (initially) couldn’t be found. I made it to book club any way.

Today I saw this Facebook post: 15 Powerful Things Happy People Do Differently

It’s a matter of perspective…

No eggs, no cookies, which led me to this:

Five-minute chocolate sauce

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 8 oz dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • ½ cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  1. In a heavy bottomed pot, over medium heat, combine the cream and chocolate.
  2. Bring to a gentle simmer and stir until the chocolate has melted.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the molasses.
  4. Stir well, cool and refrigerate.

This recipe works well with half chocolate chips and half unsweetened chocolate too.

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email. The sign-up form is on the top right hand side of this page. We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. Our Making Life Delicious newsletter includes cooking tips, menu ideas and featured recipes. Here’s the link to our monthly email sign-up form.

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Chocolate gingerbread cake – dressing up an old favourite

Chocolate gingerbread cake is spicy and sweet

 

A friend shared this recipe as a family favourite. The original is from Nigella Lawson’s Feast but my adaptation is a little less buxom than Nigella’s original. Of course there is always a time and a place for extra sweet and stickiness but my ideal gingerbread is something that you can grab off the counter to nibble as you’re heading out the door. No worries about dribbles down your front. I also prefer my gingerbread to be just on the edge of sweet. Something you could eat at breakfast without feeling guilty.

The beauty of this gingerbread (and any gingerbread really) is that it can travel from breakfast to dinner with confidence. That’s where you can layer in Nigella’s extravagances. But you don’t need them. A little cinnamon scented whipped cream alongside a warm slice of this bread is after dinner elegance.

Chocolate gingerbread cake

  • ½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1 ¼ tsp. baking soda dissolved in 2 tsp. of warm water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper or grease and flour it well.
  3. Melt the butter along with the sugar, molasses and spices. Whisk it well and remove from heat.
  4. Whisk in the milk, eggs and baking soda-water mixture.
  5. Add the flour and cocoa and beat.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips.
  7. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 55 minutes to an hour, depending on the texture you prefer. If you’re planning to serve it warm for dessert with a little something alongside or poured over, it could stand to be a little sticky so you could pull it out after 50 minutes. But if you prefer it a little dryer (and if you plan to have some leftover for packing in lunches) then I’d recommend baking it longer.

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email. The sign-up form is on the top right hand side of this page. We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. Our Making Life Delicious newsletter includes cooking tips, menu ideas and featured recipes. Here’s the link to our monthly email sign-up form.

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Gingerbread cake with coffee and chocolate

Gingerbread cake with coffee and chocolate

I love baking birthday cakes especially when I have a rainy Saturday afternoon free to bake. Too wet to enjoy work in the garden. Too wet to get the kids out for a long walk in the woods. Just wet enough for an afternoon in the kitchen.

And not just any baking…it was my husband`s birthday. Cake challenge extraordinaire.

He`s not big on sweets so I search out not-too-sweet cakes that taste wholesome and earthy.

No frosting required, just a pretty dusting of icing sugar. But festive enough that the kids can tell, even without the candles, that this is indeed a birthday cake.

I found this recipe for gingerbread cake with coffee and chocolate on epiucurious.com and it fit my husband’s criteria… dense, spicy, not too sweet. Plus it was everything I ever wanted in a cake…molasses, coffee and chocolate. A lovely marriage, you might say.

My brother ate four pieces. My mom ate two. I lost count with Quincy. Guy ate one piece, but that’s like two thumbs up from him.

It’s raining again today so I think I’ll bake another…

Gingerbread cake with coffee and chocolate

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. coarse kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 1 cup olive oil or canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup freshly brewed coffee (strong and hot)
  • 1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate (5 to 6 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger (optional)

Coffee whipped cream:

  • 1 cup chilled whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease and flour a large tube or bundt pan.
  2. Whisk 2 cups flour and next 5 ingredients in medium bowl to blend.
  3. In a large bowl combine sugar, molasses, oil, and eggs; whisk until well blended.
  4. Add dry ingredients and stir to blend.
  5. Add chocolate to coffee and add to mixture (there will be a few lumps of chocolate left).
  6. Pour batter into pan. It’s a thin batter so don’t panic, just place the pan on a cookie sheet.
  7. Bake cake about 55 to 60 minutes (until it starts pulling away from the sides of the pan).
  8. Transfer pan to rack; cool cake in pan 20 minutes. Turn cake out onto rack and cool.

For coffee whipped cream: Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until peaks form.

If you love gingerbread you’re in the right place! We have a whole section on this blog devoted to gingerbread and a free Gingerbread e-book too.

blueberry flax gingerbread