I have a great holiday cookie recipe to share with you! I made these last night and brought them to the office today. They were a huge hit! One of my coworkers described them as "the best gingerbread cookie he's ever had". These are great for coworkers, family, children and especially if you are involved in cookie exchanges. They are sweet and spicy (not hot spicy, but ginger and cinnamon spicy) so they're full of flavour. Their best quality, however, is that they are soft and chewy. So often gingerbread is stiff and crunchy. Not these! They were gloriously soft and warm right out of the oven (as cookies tend to be) but the texture maintained the next day. Just be sure to keep them in an airtight container once they've cooled completely.
Hershey's makes all kinds of different Kisses. Originally they were a milk chocolate button with a signature peak on top (commonly described as a flat-bottomed tear drop). The Hug variety is white chocolate with milk chocolate stripes. There are also Hershey's kisses filled with caramel, nuts, flavoured creams and all sorts of other options (some depending on international region). Since these are Christmasy cookies I should mention that here in North America, this time of year you can get candy cane Kisses which are peppermint flavoured white chocolate with red stripes. Esthetically speaking, those would work best here, but I wasn't feeling the idea of peppermint in my gingerbread. I settled on the Hugs which worked awesome, but feel free to use whatever you prefer or can find. Be creative! I'm not saying you need to use Kisses either. Lots of different holiday treats would work in their place.
Gingerbread also contains molasses, which is a byproduct created through the process of refining sugar. It's a dark, viscous, sticky liquid with a unique flavour. The most common way of creating molasses is with sugar cane. Juice is extracted from sugar cane and then boiled to concentrate it and encourage crystallization. The uncrystalized part becomes a sticky syrup. After one boiling, you have what's called cane syrup. When boiled a second time, the syrup takes on a darker colour and more complex flavour. The product is called Fancy Molasses. When boiled a third time, you get what's called Blackstrap Molasses which is robust, bitter and not as sweet as the first two boils. Cane syrup cannot be substituted, though you can use either Fancy or Blackstrap in this recipe. I prefer the flavour of Fancy Molasses so I used that, but that's a completely personal preference. Blackstrap molasses doesn't make bitter gingerbread, but it will have a more robust and lingering flavour on your palate. Some people prefer that. The call is up to you.
This recipe yields about 3 dozen cookies.
Place them on an ungreased baking pan and space them about two inches apart. Place in your oven preheated to 350 F/177 C for 8 - 10 minutes.
To ensure the least amount of chocolate meltage, transfer the completed cookie to a wire rack with a spatula. Allow them to cool completely before transferring them to an airtight container. You do kinda owe it to yourself to eat one after just a few minutes while the cookies are warm and the chocolate is gooey. Just sayin'.