The holidays are not complete without some form of gingerbread cookies, so Day 9 of the challenge is Chocolate Gingerbread. I love ginger and chocolate combined with loads of warm sweet and savory spices. YUMMMMY!
Of course, you can cut gingerbread into any shape you like but there is something about making gingerbread men and women that brings out the kid in me. I have to admit to eating them head first. Evil of me, LOL!
The one thing I do not like is overly sweet gingerbread. I like it slightly sweet but leans just a little towards savory. I added ground fennel and black pepper to these for an even more wonderful flavor with the chocolate. You just cannot go wrong adding chocolate to gingerbread. It adds a much deeper depth of deliciousness to the cookies.
I also enjoy the fun of decorating the cookies. Plain is wonderful as well but it is so much fun to give the gingerpeople faces and character. Makes them more fun to eat! Hehe, I am sounding a little insane about how I like to eat my gingerbread, aren’t I?
Well however you like your gingerbread, just make sure you make some for the holidays or anytime. Gingerbread helps to lighten the soul and warm the heart. Sharing is even better, so make plenty to pass around.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground fennel
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft but still cool and cut into 12 pieces
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 Tbsp. Orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/3 cup molasses
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 large egg white
1 to 2 teaspoons water or orange juice, more or less
Combine flour, spices, baking soda and salt in a medium-size bowl. Set aside until needed.
Whip butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Beat egg into mix, then add orange juice, orange zest and molasses.
Fold in the dry ingredients. Do not over mix.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least an hour or until completely chilled.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Roll dough out onto a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick and cut out into desired shapes.
Place a half-inch apart on baking sheets. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes. Do not over cook or cookies lose their soft, chewiness.
While cookies are baking, combine the ingredients for the royal icing. Add one teaspoon of water or orange juice at a time until icing is thick enough to squeeze out on the cookies. Place in a piping bag and use a small tip for decorating the cooled cookies.
Remove from sheets and cool on wire racks.
Decorate with royal icing.
Store in airtight container.