I have several go-to cookie recipes, and this is by far my favorite. The cookies are everything a ginger cookie should be: sweet, spicy, chewy, and all-around delicious.
But more importantly, this is the ultimate comfort cookie. It's the 'I got yelled at by my boss' cookie. Or the A pen leaked on my favorite jeans' cookie. Or even the 'It's raining outside, and that sucks' cookie'. It's a giant hug of a cookie.
It's also the 'I forgot to record America's Next Top Model this week' cookie.
Which, for the record, I totally remembered to do. But just in case I forget, there are always ginger cookies.
The recipe is based on David Lebovitz's.
Nonfat Ginger Cookies
2 1/4c all-purpose flour
1 cup packed dark brown sugar (Note: light brown sugar will work in a pinch)
1t baking soda
1/2t freshly, finely ground black pepper
2t ground ginger
2 1/2t ground cinnamon
1/4t ground cloves
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4c unsweetened applesauce
Optional: 1/2c finely-chopped candied ginger
In a stand mixer, beat the molasses, applesauce and sugar on medium speed for five minutes. Meanwhile, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices.
Scrape sides of bowl, add egg whites, and beat on medium speed for one minute. Add dry ingredients and beat on low until thoroughly incorporated.
Chill the dough for half an hour*
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchement paper or silpats. Put racks in the top and bottom third of the oven.
Pour 1/3c granulated sugar into a bowl, and mix in 1T ground cinnamon plus 1/2t ground ginger. Drop dough in 1-2T amounts (depending on how big you want your cookies) into the sugar and roll into a rough ball, coating coating with sugar. Place cookies 2-3 inches apart. Bake two sheets at a time, for 12-14 minutes, rotating halfway through. At twelve minutes watch them carefully--the cookies are done as soon as the tops are set and slightly firm to the touch. Don't overbake them! Better to bake them a minute to little than a minute too long. Allow the cookies to cool on the sheets for a minute or two, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.
*Note: The first time I made these cookies, I didn't chill the dough and they turned out beautifully. The second time I made them, I did refrigerate the dough and they turned out great again, but much 'rounder'. Whether or not chilling or not chiling the dough will affect your cookies depends on many things. Chill if you like, or be bold and put them straight in the oven.