I’m pretty sure the holidays are just one big excuse to eat cookies. While I usually leave the cookie baking to others, I have no problem helping with the eating part. But ever since last week, when I smashed up a bag of gingersnap cookies to make a crust for a Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, I’ve been craving a good homemade gingersnap.
I like my cookies thin and crunchy. I also love ginger. That’s why the gingersnap is my ideal cookie. It’s also not too sweet, and they’re small enough that you can eat a few at a time and not feel too bad about it. Many of the cookies this time of year are coated in icing, candy or sprinkles and are little more than sugar bombs. I much prefer the strong flavor and depth of sweetness imparted from molasses. Don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty of sugar in this recipe. You just don’t taste it as prominently.
The problem with most store-bought gingersnaps is that they don’t live up to the name. For starters, they aren’t always crispy. That doesn’t work. For a gingersnap to be a gingersnap there needs to be the snap as you break it in half. Soft gingersnap cookies are actually molasses cookies with the wrong name on the package. I like those just fine, but they’re not the same.
Of course, the other essential component of the gingersnap is the ginger. I find that too many baking recipes or packaged baked goods go too light with their level of spices. Or maybe I just like my food to have a prominent flavor.
When I sat down to figure out my ideal gingersnap recipe I realized that I had three types of ginger in my kitchen — ground, fresh and candied — and I decided to add in all three. I think they’re all easy to find in stores, but if for some reason you can’t get your hands on candied ginger, you can leave it out and increase the fresh ginger to a tablespoon. I keep candied ginger on hand for more than just baking. It’s also good to snack on when you’re feeling nauseous.
With this recipe, you can store the logs of dough in the freezer and slice off cookies to bake as you need them. Just add a couple of minutes to the baking time if baking from frozen solid.
Triple ginger gingersnaps
makes: 6 dozen cookies
2 sticks butter, room temperature
½ cup molasses
1 cup sugar, plus ¼ cup for coating
½ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons grated, peeled ginger
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger
Cream the butter, molasses and sugars in a large bowl with a mixer. After a couple of minutes, stop the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl and then continue to cream for another minute, or until smooth. While on low speed, add in the egg and grated ginger and mix until combined.
In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon and pepper.
Add the dry ingredients and candied ginger to the butter mixture, a little at a time, while the mixer is on low. Mix until incorporated.
Dump the cookie dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Divide the dough into two logs, two inches wide. Wrap with plastic wrap and transfer to the freezer for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Pour the remaining ¼ cup sugar onto a small plate. Remove the cookie logs from the freezer and slice into ¼ inch rounds. Press the top of each cookie into the sugar then place on the baking sheet. You should be able to fit about nine per sheet.
Bake the cookies until they are completely firm, about 12 minutes. Let cool on the pan four a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. They’ll continue to crisp up as they cool. Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to four days.