Several years ago, on a trip to London, I fell in love with Fortnum and Mason’s Picadilly Stem Ginger biscuits. They’re basically impossible to find in the States … so I started to bake my own. I haven’t been back to London in a few years. My memory of those stem ginger biscuits has started to fade. Think of this recipe as a game of telephone–less an attempt to replicate the Fortnum and Mason biscuit, and more of my own attempt to capture my platonic ideal of a “ginger molasses cookie.”
My recipe is based on King Arthur Flour’s recipe for Soft Ginger Molasses Cookies. King Arthur’s recipe is excellent, but I changed a few things here and there to suit my taste.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter (room temperature)
- 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar (I use an organic dark brown sugar that has a richer, deeper molasses flavor than conventional brown sugar — our local grocer stocks Wholesome brand, so that’s what I use)
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (or more, if you like) of chopped crystallized ginger — this is totally optional. I like the little ginger chunks but some prefer the cookie without them.
+ sugar for coating the cookies (you can use white sugar but I prefer either dark brown sugar or some kind of raw sugar, for the crunch)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment.
Cream the butter and sugar together — if using a stand mixer, use the flat paddle attachment. You only need to cream the butter/sugar for about 2 minutes.
Add the eggs to the butter/sugar mixture, one by one, making sure everything is well combined.
Add the molasses and the spices, mix well.
In a separate bowl, combine all the of the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda). Give it a good mix so the salt and baking soda are evenly distributed throughout the flour.
Add the flour to the wet ingredients. I like to divide the flour up in thirds. Stir in the flour until just combined (no more white, dry streaks in your dough). If you mix the flour too much, it develops the gluten in the flour, which can make the cookies a little tough. If you are adding the crystallized ginger, this is the stage where you mix in the ginger.
Use a tablespoon or an ice cream scoop to scoop up balls of dough — KA’s recipe recommends making your dough balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and I find that this size works well.
If you are rolling your cookies in sugar, have a large plate or bowl of sugar ready, and go ahead and roll those little guys in the sugar.
Flatten the dough balls so they form little pucks and space them out evenly on your baking sheet. Now they’re ready for the oven!
Baking time depends on 2 things: the accuracy of your oven temperature, and whether this is the first or last batch of the day. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes. For the later batches, once the oven is hot (and especially if you are, like me, using the same cookie sheet for all batches), start checking the cookies around the 8 min. mark.
Cool on wire racks.
These cookies keep well, provided that you store them in an air-tight container. The molasses keep them moist. If you need to stack them in multiple layers, a sheet of parchment or wax paper will help keep the sugar coating intact.