Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
Taste Tip: This dough must be prepared in advance.
2¼ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest, divided
1 tablespoon chopped crystallized ginger, plus extra for garnish
¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, cinnamon, ground ginger, 1 tablespoon orange zest and 1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, and reserve.
In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and brown sugar until creamy, about 1 minute. Add egg, molasses and orange juice and beat until thoroughly combined. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine remaining 2 teaspoons orange zest with granulated sugar. Using your fingers, blend mixture thoroughly until orange zest has crystallized appearance and texture, and reserve.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into 1¼ -inch balls. Dip dough balls in orange zest mixture and place cookies, sugar-side up, 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Press a few pieces of crystallized ginger into sugared top.
Bake until cookies are set but not hard, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 2 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
2012 Finalist: Cheryl Francke of Arden Hills, Minnesota