photograph by Matt Hulsman

Yields:  24 cookies.

12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup unpacked light brown sugar
1 large egg
½ cup molasses
1 teaspoon coffee extract or pure vanilla extract
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger

Cream the butter, ½ cup of the granulated sugar, and the brown sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a wooden spoon and beat until light and fluffy. Slowly add the egg, molasses, and coffee extract, beating well to combine.

Combine the flour, ground ginger, fresh ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a separate bowl and stir to mix. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat just until combined. Cover the dough with plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight, until firm.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375˚. Combine the remaining ½ cup granulated sugar and the crystallized ginger in a small shallow bowl and stir to mix. Pinch off small pieces of the dough and roll them into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in the sugar-ginger mixture to coat evenly and arrange on ungreased baking sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the edges are set and the center is still soft. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes. Serve warm or transfer to a baking rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container until ready to serve, or for up to 3 days.

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For several years, Our State featured recipes from the pages of community and church cookbooks from around North Carolina. These dishes continue to be among some of our most popular and enjoyed.