I’ve fallen hard for these ginger cookies. A cup of tea or an ice cold glass of milk, a handful of perfectly crisp and spicy cookies and I can wile away the afternoon dreaming of the holidays and reading A Christmas Carol one more time. It’s what these cookies will do to you. Maybe it’s the first crunch and snap of sweet ginger goodness, followed by a definite tingle on your tongue as the pepper and cayenne hit. Not too spicy just a perfect balance of sweet and heat.
Ginger cookies, in some incarnation, have been a staple in my cookie repertoire for years and they’re one of our family’s top favorites and a must-bake at Christmastime. We especially adore the kind that crackle as they bake and fill the house with their warm, gingery, spicy fragrance. I love my gingersnaps crisp and I’ve found with most recipes, though they do get somewhat crisp, they still maintain a good bit of their chewiness which is perfectly fine for most people….
…Except, I’m a ‘crisp’ girl. I think it started when I was a child. My grandmother didn’t have a toaster so she always made our toast in the oven. As it dried out in the heat, the toast turned golden and crispy and was the perfect vehicle for butter and fried eggs or dripping honey or jam. Each bite had a perfect crunch and it made me a devotee of the crispy! For instance, when I make brownies, I love the end pieces, the ones that are just slightly overcooked, chocolatey and chewy. A nice french baguette? I’m eyeing the crisp heel and hope nobody else wants it. When I order french fries, I always ask for them extra crispy. I love most of my cookies crisp too and these gingersnaps? Not only do they have significant crunch, they have a delightful zing from lots of spices and a touch of black pepper and cayenne. They put the ‘snap’ back in gingersnap!
The recipe is based on one from Cooks Illustrated Magazine, November/December 2011. The goal was to create a recipe for crisp gingersnaps and they succeeded wildly in my opinion. The recipe has you bake them at a lower temperature for a little longer than typical cookies and you rotate your baking sheets halfway through. Since I like to make things a little healthier when I cook, especially when it comes to sweets, I substituted Sprouted Spelt flour (because it’s higher in protein and B-complex, easier to digest,and a great fiber source ) for all-purpose flour and Coconut Sugar (because it’s lower glycemic) for dark brown sugar. Every little bit helps!
Loaded with both ground and freshly grated ginger, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper and cayenne, these are a crisp treat worthy of any holiday cookie stash. After just one bite, they’ve become my husband’s new favorite. And I think they’ll become a favorite at your house too! I even serve them as part of a cheese plate. Scroll down to Kate’s Tips to see how I do it
Yield: 60-80 cookies
- 2 1/2 cups flour – I used Organic Spelt Flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 1/4 cups Organic Coconut Sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup organic granulated sugar
- Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl.
- Heat the butter in a 10 inch skillet over medium heat until melted. Lower heat to medium-low and cook until the butter is starting to brown, about 2 – 4 minutes. Transfer melted butter to a large bowl and whisk in ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Allow to cool slightly, about 2 minutes. Whisk in brown sugar, molasses, and finely grated fresh ginger to butter mixture. Whisk in egg and extra yolk. Add in flour and stir until just combined. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
- Adjust the oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat to 300 degrees. Line 3 cookie sheets with Unbleached Parchment Paper or silicone mats like Silpat. Place the granulated sugar in a shallow dish. Take a teaspoon of the dough, roll it into about a 1 inch ball and roll in the sugar. Then place the dough ball on the cookie sheet (about 20 cookies per sheet).
- Place one cookie sheet on the upper-middle rack and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, transfer partially baked top sheet to lower rack rotating the cookie sheet 180 degrees and place second sheet of dough balls on upper rack. Continue to bake until cookies on lower rack just begin to darken around the edges, 10 – 12 minutes longer. Remove lower sheet of cookies and shift upper sheet to lower rack and continue to bake until cookies begin to darken around edges, 15-17 minutes. Transfer baked cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before serving. Cool baking sheets slightly and repeat step 3 with remaining dough balls. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool, then eat!
- I use a Small Cookie Scoop to make the cookies. It fits 2 teaspoons of dough not the 1 teaspoon in the original recipe. I like bigger cookies so I used the bigger scoop (much easier for me) and had a little more than half the yield. I put 12 balls of dough on each sheet.
- The fresh ginger really does make these amazing.
- I always use parchment paper or Silpat silicone mats on my cookie sheets for this reason: No cleanup. When baking is finished, the sheets are clean and I will do almost anything for less cleanup time!
- If you want a very sophisticated addition to a cheese plate, leave off the final step of rolling the dough balls in sugar. Let them bake without the sugar coating and they’ll be a little less sweet and absolutely perfect with some sharp cheese. It’s a serious grownup treat-the crunch, the heat, the creamy smooth bite from a cheese like an aged stilton- and an elegant end to a holiday meal.
So the pressing question I have is this: Are you a crisp or chewy cookie person???