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. 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 sweetness and heat. Check out this gluten-free version for a yummy alternative!
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 love how they crackle as they bake and fill the house with their warm, gingery, spicy fragrance. I love my gingersnaps crisp, and I’ve found that with most recipes, they do crisp up a bit, but 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 to be extra crispy.
I love most of my cookies crisp, too, and these gingersnaps? Not only do they have significant crunch, but they also have a delightful zing from lots of spices and a touch of black pepper and cayenne (optional). 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. You bake them at a lower temperature for a little longer than typical cookies, and you rotate your baking sheets halfway through. I like to use Coconut Sugar (because it’s lower glycemic) for dark brown sugar. Every little bit helps!
Loaded with ginger and spice, these are a crisp treat worthy of any holiday cookie stash. They’re my husband’s 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 🙂
Why I Love This Recipe:
The snap is real, the spice is just right, the ginger and spices are perfectly balanced, and the sweetness isn’t overpowering
They make the perfect gift for the holidays.
They’re a great cookie to make with kids. They love rolling them into balls and then coating them with sugar
Yield: 60-80 cookies
- 2 1/2 cups 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 (but only if you want them really spicy!)
- 1 1/4 cups brown sugar or Organic Coconut Sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup 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 starts 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 the 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 2 teaspoons 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 15 cookies per sheet).
- Place one cookie sheet on the upper-middle rack and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, transfer the partially baked top sheet of cookies to the lower rack rotating the cookie sheet 180 degrees and placing the second sheet of dough balls on the upper rack. Continue to bake until cookies on the lower rack just begin to darken around the edges, 10 – 12 minutes longer. Remove the lower sheet of cookies from the oven and shift the upper sheet to the lower rack, and continue to bake until cookies begin to darken around the edges, 15-17 minutes. Transfer baked cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before serving. 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. 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 cayenne pepper is definitely optional. It’s too hot for me, but if you can take the heat, add it!
- If you don’t have 3 baking sheets, just cook each batch for 15 minutes, rotate the sheet pan, and bake for another 10-12 minutes. Cool the baking sheets slightly and repeat step 3 with the remaining dough balls.
- 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, heat, the creamy smooth bite from cheese like an aged stilton- and an elegant end to a holiday meal.
- For a gluten-free version, try my Gluten-Free Gingersnap recipe 🙂
My pressing question: Are you a crisp or chewy cookie person???