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Chocolate-Gingerbread Rudolph Cookies

These are always a huge hit and easy enough for the kids to make. I made some for the neighborhood kids and the look on their faces was definitely a MasterCard moment!

Merry Christmas!

Chocolate-Gingerbread Rudolph Cookies

3¼ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 Tablespoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening
½ cup (packed) brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
½ cup molasses
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the cocoa powder, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the softened butter with the shortening at medium speed until the mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the brown sugar and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Add the egg to the cookie batter and beat until incorporated. Beat in the molasses and then the melted bittersweet chocolate. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, beating between additions. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts. Shape each part into a disk, then wrap each one in plastic wrap and refrigerate the cookie dough until chilled, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out 1 disk of dough ¼-inch thick. Using 4- to 5-inch cookie cutters, cut the dough into shapes and transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Re-roll the dough scraps and cut out more cookies.

Bake the cookies for about 7 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking until the tops are dry. Let the cookies cool on the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat the process with the remaining dough.

Yields about 40 large cookies.

Paula Anderson is a contributing writer to Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine, as well as a columnist for 3 Maine Newspapers with a focus on food, nutrition, and entertaining.

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