This is my edited recipe originally published in Gourmet magazine, September 1996. Whole pieces of crystallized-ginger make this recipe special. Vary the cooking time to your liking: less time for a chewier bite, more time for a snappy crisp.
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 large egg
3 ounces crystallized ginger, coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
In a bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and ground spices. In another bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg, flour mixture, crystallized ginger, and zest and beat until a dough forms.
Chill dough, wrapped in plastic overnight or at least 4 hours until firm.
Preheat oven to 350° F. and prepare 2 shallow baking sheets with parchment paper. Place a rack in the middle of the oven.
Form the dough into a log. Cut dough crosswise into slices about 1/6 inch thick and arrange about 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake bars in batches in middle of oven until deep golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes, and transfer to racks to cool. Longer cooking times will change the texture of the cookie from chewy to crunchy.
Store in airtight containers.
This dough can be rolled out and cut into shapes with cookie cutters — perfect for gingerbread men and women.