I am a January baby, so snow is part of my story. When the flurries falls fluffily, all white and pristine, I am happy to watch from my window. Ideally, I remain huddled under blankets with my warm, little puppy, who curls into the most cuddly of wheels. When the time comes to venture into the snowflakes, winter boots, a puffy coat and puppy antics are my physical and mental shields against Pittsburgh’s long winter.
When it came to baking gingerbread this year, I couldn’t resist Martha Stewart’s extra white-chocolate steps. Whether they mimic birch branches or snow laden boughs, these wintry treats offer another opportunity to appreciate the beauty of winter, and their taste is addicting too!
Chocolate Gingerbread Twigs
adapted from Martha Stewart
Prep Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
Yield: ~80 cookies
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 cups white whole-wheat flour, plus more for rolling
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 Tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 stick organic, unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed organic, dark-brown sugar
1 large organic egg
1/3 cup molasses
4 ounces white chocolate, chopped
Melt bittersweet chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring until smooth; remove from heat.
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Beat together butter and brown sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until creamy, about 3 minutes.
Add egg and molasses and beat until smooth.
Beat in bittersweet chocolate, then flour mixture, until combined.
Divide dough in half; form each half into a rectangle and wrap in plastic wrap.
Refrigerate until firm but still pliable, about 30 minutes.
Dough can be made 3 days ahead and stored in refrigerator, or frozen up to 1 month.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Roll out each piece of dough to a rectangle 1/8-inch thick, with 1 side roughly 12 inches long, on a lightly floured piece of parchment.
Transfer rectangles on parchment to baking sheets and refrigerate until firm, 30 minutes.
Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut into 1/4-to-1/2-inch-wide irregular strips, each about 12 inches long.
Separate strips on parchment-lined baking sheets and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
Bake until slightly darker around edges, about 12 minutes. Let twigs cool completely on baking sheets.
Melt white chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring until smooth.
Paint chocolate along length of each twig with a pastry brush to create a faux-bois look. Refrigerate until chocolate sets, about 15 minutes. Twigs can be made 3 days ahead and stored in a cool place.