I recently “discovered” brown butter and all its glory. It’s so versatile and can be used in savory and/or sweet dishes. I can’t decide which I love more, though. I’ve made brown butter strawberry pasta with a balsamic glaze and grilled herbed chicken; I’ve made chocolate chip cookies with brown butter; I’ve even made scallops in brown butter. The combination of sweet nuttiness and that distinct butter flavor pairing so nicely with pretty much anything — oh, I absolutely love it.
The other day I told my partner I was going to make dessert for her. She’s a chocoholic. I’m a chocoholic. So of course it was going to be something chocolatey. For some reason, candied ginger came to mind — something I bought a few months ago with the intention of using with something chocolatey. So I looked up some recipes in the cookbooks I have (specifically, I found a recipe for chocolate ginger shortbread cookies in my copy of Ming Tsai’s “Simply Ming”), but they all seemed either too involved or included ingredients I didn’t have on hand at home. So I resorted to the internet and found an amazing recipe for chocolate cookies with candied ginger. It was in Jamestown, ND’s newspaper, The Jamestown Sun back in September 2010.
The cookies are like the best part of a brownie — the edge, where it’s simultaneously crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle (though more chewy than crispy) and the oodles of chocolate chips just add bursts of chocolate. There wasn’t as strong of a ginger flavor as I’d hoped (I didn’t realize that the ginger I had was uncrystallized ginger, and the recipe called for crystallized — the difference between the two being one is rolled in sugar and the other is not). However, I don’t think that had much of an impact, and it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing as ginger tends to be quite strong, and there was still a hint of something — something different that you can’t quite put your finger on, especially if you didn’t know the ingredients. Overall, this is a very rich, texturally varied cookie that will satisfy ANY chocolate craving.
I’ve included the recipe here as listed on the website. Changes I made:
-Type of ginger I used, as I mentioned
-I used a medium cookie scoop instead of the tablespoons as the recipe suggests. It was just much easier to handle the dough that way, and it was already in balls. I think this made the cookies a bit bigger than the recipe says, as I was only able to make about 3 dozen, and the recipe says it yields 4 to 4-1/2 dozen.
-I omitted the nuts (I’m not a big fan of nuts in cookies).
-I also used dark brown sugar (I tend to use only dark brown sugar — I prefer it to light brown).
-This may not have made much of a difference, but when I was miseing my ingredients while the butter/brown sugar mixture chilled, I had the vanilla and ginger in the same bowl. That may have been the reason for the toned-down flavor of the ginger. Next time I’ll try to avoid doing that to see if there’s a difference.
Chocolate Marvel Cookies
Published in The Jamestown Sun
1 cup butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 cup nuts, chopped
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels
In a sauté pan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Bring butter to golden brown by allowing it to bubble for 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar. Scrape butter mixture into a pie plate and let stand in refrigerator for 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.
Scrape chilled butter mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add granulated sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla and ginger. Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed to blend. Add nuts and semi-sweet chocolate morsels and stir to combine.
Roll dough into balls, using about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough for each ball. Place on lightly greased or parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
Bake in preheated 325-degree oven for about 15 minutes. Remove cookies from oven when they are still soft in the middle, but brown on the bottom. Allow to cool a few minutes on baking sheet, then transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
Yields 4 to 4 1/2 dozen.