constellation cookies

Ever since these cookies stole my heart and failed to steal KS’s, I’ve been on a mission to find a cookie that we could both fall in love with and never let go. Aside from the fact that I just. Plain. Don’t. Get. It. How do you not love a cookie so deep, dark and chocolatey? Well, apparently, this cookie might come close to finding heaven on earth for some people(me), but others will still be looking. So I gave myself a goal – find that cookie that makes KS as weak in the knees that the world peace cookies made me and make sure that cookie has the same knee-weakening effect on me. After all, since I am making them, shouldn’t I enjoy them just as much?

All this talk of not having a sweet tooth has been put to rest. I do (have a sweet tooth). And I can tell you that while discriminating (red velvet cake from Billy’s – yes, please; Magnolia cupcake – no, thanks) – it’s very firmly present, refuses to go away, and lets me know of its existence every afternoon after my healthy lunch. To which I, at times, succumb. But all those cravings aside, there’s nothing more comforting and seductive than walking into an apartment that smells of freshly-baked cookies. It says “home” and “relax” and “good food can be found here”. And as I come home these days when it’s late, dark, cold, and often wet outside, walking into a house with the fresh cookie smell is like reaching my own idyll every night after work.

I found this recipe on the never-bored-when-I’m-looking-at-it Martha Stewart website – and it took all strength and dedication not to make these cookies the night I found the recipes. And a smart move that was, for here’s the rub: these cookies take awhile to make. Heed my warning when I say this to you, make these on a weekend, when you have time, as coming and going from your house, or make the dough one day, freeze it, and then make the cookies on another night. The cookie dough comes out very fudgy and sticky, and as you are going to be wrapping it in plastic and chilling it for a few hours, do not despair if you think it’s too sticky and gooey and you are having a hard time making it go into the plastic encasing. It’s supposed to be like that and you will be on the right track. I recommend chilling the dough for the amount of time advised in the recipe – it makes the job easier later on. But the end result – oh my! These are seductive and chewy, full of dark chocolate and hints of smokey molasses. A truly grown up cookie with layers and layers of flavors! Indeed, these cookies are worth the trouble they put you through!

After you make the cookie dough, you have a few more steps to follow before you can place them in the oven. There’s the additional step of creating ball of dough and chilling them for 20 minutes afterwards. And then, only after you chilled these chocolate balls of goodness, you roll them in granulated sugar (yes, we have white sugar on hand for this kind of stuff, we’re not completely white sugar free, I was mistaken) – and only after that step you stick the sparkly, sugary cookie dough balls in the oven.

If you don’t care to have shimmery cookies, you can skip the sugar rolling step, but look at how pretty and magical they look! Don’t you want cookies that look like the dark skies with all the stars upon them? That’s what KS saw when he was eating his fourth of fifth cookie of the night suggesting that I call them “Constellation Cookies”. And I think I will do just that. Martha, I hope you forgive me.

7 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (I took the extra tbsp out)
1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon cocoa powder (I added a total of 3 tbsp of unsweetened Dutch chocolate)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (did not use, wanted cookies to be more chocolatey)
1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar

1. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and grated ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.

3. In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more.

4. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 2 dozen.

One last note, I tried to make these cookies more chocolatey than gingery – I took out fresh ginger and upped the Dutch chocolate powder (in my case, unsweetened). Next time, I might even make a double batch and freeze half of it – the way these cookies taste you might want to do that as well.

Inspired by Martha Stewart.


  • Lydia

    Oh boy, those do sound and look delicious! I’m pretty much weak at the knees with any chocolate cookie, and I’m lucky my hubby is the same.

  • ann

    Oooooooooooooooooooh… there’s a recipe like this in the Broccoli Forest Moosewood cookbook, but without chocolate, that is my FAVORITE cookie in the whole darn world!
    Wow, I nearly forgot about it! And if memory serves correct, it’s a lot less futzy, I should make some of those soon. I now have a wicked craving, thanks Radish ;-)

  • radish

    Lydia and Ann – I am telling you this cookie is like the key to domestic happiness in my household. It’s the cookie i made that both of us LOVED – usually it’s me going “Yum!!” and him going “Meh..” or the other way around. Personally, for me, the chocolate seals the deal!

  • m

    MMhm. These look yum. I haven’t made cookies in awhile (alas my stove is some freak non-standard size that can’t fit a 17″ baking tray) but I want to now. Thanks.
    And thanks for dropping by my blog the other day and giving feedback, I was honored.

  • clumsy

    Nice. I love the sparkles! The combo of ginger and chocolate is really enticing. Also, I liked the picture showing the baking sheet with the cookie dough rolled in a ball—is that how you are supposed to bake them? I always smush them down, which may be why most of my cookies suck!

  • radish

    Hey m – thanks – i liked your blog too! Have you tried a smaller tray – might take longer, but at least you will have cookies?
    clumsy – the recipe called for rolling them into balls, which makes rolling them in sugar easier. Also, i think that’s what makes them so perfectly round – I was tempted to just dump them on the sheet, but decided to follow the directions and wound up with these perfect circles!

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