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Santa likes spicy cookies too: Garam Masala Gingerbread

I love baking during this time of year, the house is warm and toasty and smells great, especially after baking a batch gingerbread cookies. Gingerbread screams Christmas time, from the proverbial gingerbread house to the cutesy gingerbread man, the smell of ginger and cinnamon spices evokes Christmas. I must admit however that elaborate cookies or “blinged” out gingerbread houses are not my thing. I’ve had plenty of burnt batches and have decorated cookies that look like some kids’ 3rd grade project so kudos to those who can make beautifully decorated gingerbread but I just don’t have the time or patience. Here’s a simple recipe I love that adds a bit of a twist to gingerbread and won’t have you getting out your piping bag, well unless you want to…

Spicy Garam Masala Chocolate Gingerbread cookies

This recipe was adapted from Aarti Sequeria’s garam masala chocolate gingerbread recipe and changed it around a bit using less chocolate and adding cayenne pepper for more heat. Garam Masala is a spice mixture but it’s not spicy hot like chili. These cookies are spicy, not overly sweet and oh so good with a glass of cold milk. I think even Santa would approve!

Ingredients:
3 cups of flour
1/2 cup of good cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 sticks of butter (room temp)
3/4 cup of light brown sugar
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup molasses
Spicy Sugar Glaze for drizzling (see below)

Directions:
1. Mix the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl, set aside.

2. Add butter to a stand mixer and beat on medium speed until smooth.

3. Add the sugar and ginger and continue to beat on medium until light and fluffy.

4. Add the beaten egg until mixed well then slowly add the molasses so it doesn’t splatter.

5. Add the flour mixture slowly until well combined and dough is formed. Dough will be sticky.

6. Divide the dough in half and flatten/roll out until 1/4 inch thick. This recipe does not rise much so roll out to your preferred thickness. You can flour a flat surface when rolling out and sprinkle flour on the rolling pin or what I like to do is roll out between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. It’s less messy this way and easily lifted. Refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight.

7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 3-4 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Use whatever cookie cutter shape you have and cut the dough. Place the gingerbread on cookie sheet at least 1 inch apart and bake for 10-12 minutes. Baking for 10 minutes will result is softer cookies. Remove from oven and place on cooking rack. Let cool completely before icing.

Spicy Sugar Glaze
1 cup confectioners sugar
2-3 tbsp of milk
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients well in a bowl until it forms a glaze that can easily be drizzled over the cooled gingerbread.

Leave out for your favorite Santa…

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