One of the best flavors of the fall and holiday season is ginger. And, one of the best flavors of all time is chocolate. So, pair them together with a gooey chocolate center surprise and you’ve entered cookie heaven!
Some of my fondest memories of the Christmas holidays while growing up were making gingerbread houses with my Mom. Every year she would dutifully bake and cut out 5-10 houses to decorate and give as gifts to neighbors, school teachers, or just someone in need. They were magical! But I admit, I wasn’t necessarily a fan of construction gingerbread. Maybe it was the kid palate.
That all changed the older I got. Ginger is one of my favorite ingredients to use in multiple forms of cooking. And molasses…well it’s about as rustic as you get. So now, I’m pretty much a huge gingerbread fan!
I came across a version of this recipe for chocolate gingerbread cookies several years back at a holiday party. Strangely, I really hadn’t thought about pairing ginger with chocolate. But these soft, moist cookies with holiday spices swirled in, then punctuated with cocoa powder and a few chocolate chips were addicting.
When I tried the recipe at home, I added even more chocolate chips and a frozen Nutella chocolate center. Now we’re talking! The added burst of melted chocolate took this cookie to another level. Still moist and chewy, but now more chocolatey and gooey.
Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
There are a few tricks to making these cookies. First is while making the dough, do sift the dry ingredients together. Second, chill the dough well. Third, freeze the ~ 1 tsp. balls of Nutella (or other chocolate hazelnut spread) solid. Then, place them in a plastic bag or container on ice to keep them frozen while wrapping the chocolate dollops in dough. It melts incredibly fast and this was the only way I could keep a nice solid piece that was easy to handle.
You may ask why not just use a Hershey Kiss. Tried it and it was of course delicious, but the chocolate doesn’t remain liquid and will re-solidify to a certain degree. Nutella will maintain that nice melty center.
Just a couple other tips. This is a BIG recipe (gotta spread the love right?) making about 6 dozen good size cookies, but it is easily halved. The dough kept nicely in the refrigerator for a week between batches. I’m not sure about freezing and thawing, but you could certainly try it.
And finally, we did “smoke” a couple dozen in the smoker to try it out using cherry wood. My family, who enjoys smoked foods almost weekly, liked the smoky flavor. Others…not so much. I did find that the smoke amplified the molasses flavor which I liked and was the lingering flavor on the palate. I recommend a conventional oven if smoked sweets aren’t your thing.
Hope you enjoy! Cheers.
Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
The classic fall and holiday flavors of gingerbread are amped up with the addition of chocolate. Plus, hidden inside is a creamy chocolate surprise.
- Prep Time: 1/2 - 1hr + chilling time
- Cook Time: 12-15 min. per batch
- Total Time: 2 hrs +
- Yield: ~6 dozen
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Comfort Classic
For the Cookies
- 1 lb. (4 sticks) butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 c. fresh ginger (grated)
- 2 c. brown sugar
- 2 c. light molasses
- 6 1/4 c. flour
- 5 tsp. ground ginger
- 4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/4 c. cocoa powder
- 4 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. boiling water
- 2 10-12 oz pkgs. milk chocolate chips
- Nutella (frozen tsp dollops) ~60-72 for full batch, 30-36 for half batch
- White sugar to roll dough in.
*Before making cookies
- Spoon tsp. dollops of Nutella (or other chocolate, hazelnut spread) on parchment paper lined cookie sheets and freeze solid.
To make the dough:
- Cream together butter, eggs, fresh ginger, brown sugar and molasses.
- Sift flour, spices, and salt (not baking soda), and mix 1/2 sifted mixture into butter mixture.
- Dissolve baking soda in boiling water and add to remaining flour mixture.
- Then add remaining flour mixture to cookie dough and mix.
- Add chocolate chips, and stir in.
- Chill dough for at least 1 hour
To Make Cookies:
- Preheat oven to 325
- Remove frozen Nutella and place in plastic bag or container on ice. You may want to do this 1-2 dozen at a time as it remelts quickly.
- Take ~ 1/4 c. (not packed or heaping, slightly less than top) chilled cookie dough and form a ball.
- Flatten slightly, and place dollop of frozen Nutella in the middle.
- Form dough around the frozen Nutella and roll into a ball.
- Roll cookie dough ball in white sugar until coated.
- Place on lined cookie sheet pan. (I placed 4 x 3 spaced out on 18 x 13″ half cookie sheet, and they baked well without running into each other). Flatten dough ball slightly.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, then remove and allow to cool for a bit on the sheet pan. The cookie will be soft and this will continue to bake cookie to a nice chewy consistency.
- Serve is up with a chilled glass of milk and enjoy!
- Store the dough in refrigerator wrapped tightly (think bread loaf) for up to a week.
- This is a big batch! It is easily halved.
- If you don’t want to do Nutella centers, up the chocolate chips in recipe to ~ 1 1/4-1 1/2 bags. It still tastes really good!
- Cookies store well with slice of bread in container or ziplock bag to absorb excess moisture.
- If you want to try smoking cookies, preheat smoker to 325 (low smoke) with cherry or apple wood and bake 12-15 minutes.
Keywords: Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies, Chocolate Gingerbread, Gingerbread Cookies