Gingersnaps make me absolutely nostalgic. They take me right back to childhood and baking with my Mom We kids would kneel on a chair at the kitchen table so we could reach and we’d take turns dipping a glass in sugar and gently pressing down the gingersnaps before they baked.
I remember the glass wasn’t flat on the bottom; it had a design kind of like a snowflake. I’m pretty sure they were very fancy “crystal” that came from a box of laundry detergent!! We were always so proud of our little imprints, but when the cookies came out of the oven, there was no sign of a design. Just sugary crusted crinkles. It was a mystery to my young self!! I can’t find that recipe for gingersnaps, but this is very close to what I remember.
According to The Leaf, “Gingersnaps, also called ginger biscuits, are a type of cookie. The name comes from the fact these cookies traditionally are very crispy and make a snapping sound when eaten. Gingersnaps are a derivation of gingerbread and were invented hundreds of years ago. People in colonial times enjoyed these cookies, both in European countries and in America.” Closely related to Gingersnaps are other cookies, like these Molasses Spice Cookies. The Molasses Spice cookies are soft and chewy but the two cookies share a lot of the same spices and have similar flavors.
I think these Gingersnaps are fab, and I certainly ate more than my fair share! Thank goodness my son, Kraig just happened to stop by and was able to help out with the “chore.” I also used the Gingersnaps to make my Make-Ahead Pumpkin Cheesecake Parfaits. Yum! These homemade Gingersnaps were so good in that dessert.
While the flavor was great, and after a bit of trial and error, these Gingersnaps baked up crisp all the way through, these cookies didn’t have the almost “shattering” crispness I’m used to with commercial Gingersnaps. I didn’t flatten them with a glass, though, so I next time around, I’ll give that a go. I also thought about leaving these to cool in the oven with the door ajar but we have (okay I have) a little trouble delaying gratification.
I’d recommend a little test batch when you bake your Gingersnap cookies. Put just a few on your baking sheet, bake them and then let them cool. It’s only after they cool that they start to crisp. Then you can see if the timing works in your oven to get you cookies that are crisp all the way through. My first cookie sheet baked up a little soft. Luckily I realized it while the second sheet was still in the oven so I added a minute to my timing.
Here’s a case where you don’t want to use butter if you aren’t too opposed to using shortening. Shortening is the way to go. If you don’t want to use shortening, one of the premium European type butters might be a good substitute. The reason why is that ounce for ounce, both shortening and the premium butters have more fat than our regular old American butter. While some people assume that shortening became so popular back in the 40s and 50s, because it was less expensive, it wasn’t necessarily all a “cheap” thing – it was used because so many baked goods turned out with better textures. Of course, items baked with shortening lacked that buttery taste (although these days, there are butter “flavored” shortenings which I haven’t used) and then there was the whole trans-fat thing. I think most of the companies have made an effort to clean things up. But back to the cookies!
I also thought the gingersnaps baked up best with the most crinkles when baked on a standard (not an air-bake) cookie sheet. I had the best results with my gingersnaps when I baked them, 1 tray at a time in the top third of the oven. It takes a bit longer to get through all the cookies, but I think the quality of the cookie made it worth the extra baking time. If you have one, a scoop will help you get the most uniform cookies so the cookies will all bake up evenly and the same size.
Saving Money on Gingersnaps:
As far as the most bang for your buck, this is THE time of the year to stock up on baking goods and specials. Anywhere from pre-Thanksgiving all the way to Christmas, there will be specials and plenty of coupons, if you use them on baking items. See my list of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Savings. There may be some minor sales around Valentines Day on baking items, but the next big sale will be Easter. You can take a look at what items to look for on sale around all the major holidays on this post, Win at the Grocer’s if you’re so inclined.
Whenever I bring anything into the house that contains flour, it goes right into my freezer for three days; that eliminates the possibility of any little peskies coming into the house along with the bag of flour or the flour related item.
I rarely, if ever, see Molasses on sale. It’s not super pricey though and once you have a bottle of Molasses, it will keep literally for years in your cupboard. Just make sure that there is no sticky residue on the top of the bottle or the lid or the lid will stick so tightly you’ll never get it open again.Print
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 30 1x
- Category: Desserts
- Cuisine: American
- 2 cups flour, stir to lighten, then scoop out into measuring cup with a spoon
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3/4 cup shortening
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup dark molasses
- cinnamon sugar: 1/3 cup sugar plus 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Sift, or mix with a whisk, the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a mixing bowl.
Place the shortening into a mixing bowl and beat until creamy. Gradually beat in the white sugar. Beat in the egg, and dark molasses. Add flour mixture in three additions, mixing well after each.
Scoop or pinch teaspoon portions of dough and roll into a ball about 1″ in diameter. Roll each ball into cinnamon sugar. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven until the tops are rounded and slightly cracked about 10 minutes. Cool cookies on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
Note: Cookies bake best, one pan at a time, in the top third of the oven.
Keywords: Christmas Cookies, Cookies, Desserts, molasses, shortening
I’ll be posting this Gingersnap recipe at Fiesta Friday 200. Be sure to stop by and vote for your favorite recipes on Tuesday!