This turned out to be a great little cookie. I was pleased that it wasn't a hard gingersnap, as gingerbread made with butter tends to be. But I would definitely decorate them with something else next time, as the sugar pearls were just way too sweet for my taste. They tasted iced.
Since our brown sugar is just white sugar with molasses added back into it, I never see the point of using brown sugar (which is more expensive) when molasses is already in the recipe, so I changed that out. Otherwise, I prepared the recipe as written.
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup semisweet chocolate mini chips
5 tablespoons Swedish pearl sugar
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or grease lightly. Combine the flour, baking soda, spices, salt, and cocoa. In a separate bowl, beat the butter with the sugar until light and creamy. Add the molasses and beat until combined. Beat in the dry ingredients, then stir in the chips. Scoop the dough a tablespoon at a time; a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here. Roll the top portion of each dough ball in pearl sugar. Place the unbaked cookies 1½" apart, sugar side up, onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until their surface begins to crack. (I baked them for only 10. They were still VERY soft and puffed, and just beginning to crack.) Remove from the oven, cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely.
Conclusion: These were good, easy -- something I would make again, but with a different topping. (Either that or eliminate the ½ cup of sugar in the recipe.) Perhaps real chocolate or colored jimmies, or LIGHTLY dusted powdered sugar. I didn't notice the chocolate chips much -- chocolate lovers will want to use more chips. These were never crunchy, and after a few days they mellowed to a tough-chewy. Very nice.
Recipe: Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies via King Arthur Flour