Or: if a chocolate crinkle cookie and a gingerbread man ran away together and had a baby. The first title is probably the better option, but that’s exactly what these are like. Insert ice cream, and you have yourself a little Halloween dessert kids and adults will love. Trick or treat? TREAT.
This is the sort of cookie that non-gingerbread/gingersnap eaters will actually like. It’s chewy where gingerbread is crisp, it’s warm and snuggly where gingerbread is hot, and it’s chocolatey where gingerbread is spicy. The chocolate, however subtle, is there, but not in a halloween-candy sweet way. It takes the place of traditional cayenne here and it rounds out the flavor nicely. As a gingerbread lover (the spicier the better), I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed these, even without the added heat.
These are great to make if you have party decorating or kid-costuming to do. You make the dough, let it chill for at least two hours but up to overnight (which I did, and it was very easy to work with). Then you make the cookie balls, chill them again, then roll in sugar and bake. You can be flexible with how long you let them sit in the fridge, making them ideal for any sort of interruption. Once you get to the ice cream filling, remember to work fast; honestly, they’re ice cream sandwiches, so they don’t have to be perfect. Believe me, no one will notice.
I used two kinds of ice cream for this: Edy’s Slow-Churned Pumpkin (a seasonal flavor) and Häagen Dazs Limited Edition Sweet Chai Latte (!!!), but feel free to experiment with other flavors. A simple vanilla bean ice cream would be fantastic with these cookies as well. I would love to tell you that I made my ice cream from scratch…i really would. But let’s get real: everyone has lots to do around this time of year, and making homemade ice cream may not be on the top of the list when your 1-year-old’s lion costume needs some last-minute alterations. If you’d like to make your own ice cream, please be my guest.
Have a fabulous Halloween. And if you want an equally delicious Halloween breakfast, try Renato’s Mom’s Olive Oil Orange Bundt. It’s dark brown cakey outside dripping with orange glaze? Spooky good. It was up just before this post, an unfortunate casualty of the upcoming festivities.
Taken from Martha Stewart Living Magazine, October 2006. Every time I wonder why I’ve kept piles of these, I look through and remember. It’s for things like this.
Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
- 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- fat pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
- 1/2 cup unsulfered molasses
- 2 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon boiling water
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar, for rolling your cookies
Sift together the flour , cocoa powder, and spices into a medium bowl. Put butter, brown sugar and grated ginger in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk (or paddle, I used paddle) attachment. Beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in molasses.
Beat in flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the baking soda mixture. Shape dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Don’t be put off if your dough seems very soft…it will be. it’s what the chilling is for. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. I refrigerated overnight and I wound suggest it: these get gooey easily when handling them, so the colder the better.
When you’re ready to make your balls, Preheat oven to 325˚F. Shape dough into 1 inch-ish balls (honestly, whatever works for you. I like my ice cream sandwiches on the small side. If you want bigger ones, do 1 1/2 inch balls). Place them onto whatever baking sheet you own that fits in your refrigerator, lined with parchment. Refrigerate 15-20 minutes.
Roll balls in granulated sugar until they look like little sugar donut holes. Bake until surfaces crack slightly, 10-12 minutes. Remember: the idea is for them to be chewy, so don’t overbake. Let cool on sheet for 5-10 minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. These keep for several days in an airtight container, but I doubt you’ll have many left to store.
To fill your ice cream sandwiches: I use a regular spoon and very, VERY cold ice cream. scoop, smoosh cookies together, and stick back in the freezer. Keep these cold, cold, cold until serving.