The Trick to Ginger Snaps


…is to remember that most cookie recipes are a little bland. That means you want to take the elements that give the recipe its flavor and amp them up. Use very fresh (dried) ginger. Use more ginger. Don’t use plain sugar or plain fat. Doing all that, a recipe like this one becomes something more like this, where I had to make a second batch on request a few days later:

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (not cassia, if you have real cinnamon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup dark molasses

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or these awesome things.

Sift together the dry ingredients. Fresh dried ginger will be sticky and tend to clump up, which you don’t want in your cookies.

Cream the butter and sugar. Mix in the egg until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl, then the molasses. Add the flour mixture slowly until you have a soft dough.

Roll the dough between oiled hands into one-inch balls. Place three inches apart on the cookie sheets. Bake for 1o minutes.

Allow to cool slightly on the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Store in an airtight container for the short period of time it will take you to finish these off.

Comments

  1. Laurie Holm says

    I like a little bit of clove and a little bit of nutmeg (gotta be freshly grated) as well. Also, big fan of chilling the dough overnight – I think it helps them spread the perfect amount.

  2. says

    I usually make soft ginger cookies because the boys aren’t big on snaps. I am, however, going to make some relatively soon because I like them a lot. My own recipe is much the same as this – excepting that I will be using fresh wet ginger – juiced. Using the castings in place of the dried ginger. I would also substitute the dark brown sugar for evaporated cane juice moistened with ginger juice (this is extremely strong). Finally, I would roll the dough balls in chopped (in the food processor) crystallized ginger before baking.

    The latter is something I do with the gingerbread cookies and it is wickedly wonderful. I have just been waiting for the chance to use it in actual gingersnaps. I am going to make them as soon as I make the dough for animal crackers made up – and of course bake a batch. I am focusing more on building a repertoire of cookies for the boys and the animal crackers are kind of the capping snack – for the moment. I have dough for more than twenty odd dozen cookies of a few varieties and have been told that we need to do animal crackers too. The downside of eliminating corn syrup is that you have to bake a lot. The upshot is that you can improve the healthsomeness of them, well and beyond eliminating the corn syrup (though I do have a few standard fare, really bad for you on all other levels cookies as well. I can even proudly say that I don’t overindulge in them – mostly…

  3. D. C. Sessions says

    Some time try adding cardamom. We’ve gotten to using it in a lot of baked goodies, especially muffins and my latest evolution of steel-cut oatmeal bread.

    $HERSELF succumbed to temptation a few weeks ago when Kitchenaid had a closeout on their current model of monster mixer — the one she needs me to move, but has all the goodies like a dough hook. We were already baking our own bread, but this monster took it to a new level.

  4. DM says

    I love gingersnaps, but am in a small apartment with limited utensils at my disposal. Any tips on getting the ginger evenly cut and spread into the dough?

  5. says

    DM, you can also mix the dry goods together with a whisk, then feel about with your fingers for clumps of ginger to break up. It takes more time, but it works just about as well.

  6. Russell says

    Best ginger snaps ever: Alton Brown’s (I don’t have the link, but it’s an easy search).
    The candied ginger really adds another level of chewy.
    Plus, Alton is probably the most “sciencey” cook out there…
    -RCM DS,TX