December 22, 2014 by
I almost love gingersnaps more than I love a really good chocolate chip cookie. Almost. It’s a photo finish, really.
Just like gingerbread, gingersnaps date back to Medieval England and predate the cake style gingerbread we know today.
Traditionally, “gingersnaps” are a crispy cookie that “snap” when eaten, hence the name.
Gingersnaps have a long history in Europe, especially England and Germany. The cookies were made using molasses as a sweetener rather than refined sugar because it was less expensive and more readily available to the average person. (At this time, white refined sugar was extremely expensive and only available to the very wealthy.) As England expanded its colonial rule, it brought many of its cooking and baking traditions to these colonized countries, including gingersnaps.
European and British food traditions continued even after the American colonies gained their independence. Recipes that had been passed down, such as the traditional molasses and ginger recipe for snaps, still flourished in American kitchens.(information from www.ehow.com
This recipe makes a lovely crispy yet slightly chewy melt-in-your-mouth cookie. The combination of shortening and butter is what does this. An all-butter cookie would cause the dough to spread quite a bit and make a very crispy cookie. An all-shortening dough would make a more cake-like cookie. I also like to use brown sugar as opposed to white because I find the cookie has a better texture and flavor. However, if you prefer to use or all you have is white (or even light brown) sugar, feel free to use it. Feel free to play with the spices. Of course, ginger should be your main flavor. However, most traditional gingersnap recipes have cloves and cinnamon. I decided to buck tradition and used allspice as my secondary spice. Most of the sweet spices have an affinity with each other, so I thought, why not allspice? It works well in this recipe.As for the sugar to coat the cookie dough before baking – it’s a traditional addition. If you decide you don’t want the extra sugar, then skip that step. However, since I wanted to go traditional (sort of), I did that step using turbinado (raw) sugar.If you would like to add even more ginger flavor, you can add grated fresh and/or finely chopped candied ginger. Add as much or as little as you like.
From top: molasses, baking soda, ginger, allspice, salt
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
1/2 shortening, room temperature
1 c. dark brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1/4 c. molasses
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
Extra sugar for rolling
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a mixer bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, and brown sugar.
Getting ready to cream the butter, shortening, and brown sugar together.
After creaming the butter and sugar together. You don’t want to beat too much air into the mixture.
Add the egg and molasses and mix until well combined.
After adding the egg and molasses.
3. Meanwhile, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, and allspice.
Sifted dry ingredients. Kinda like the way it looks.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the molasses mixture 1/3 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Mixing in the dry ingredients. Be sure to mix well after each addition and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
The finished dough. Try not to eat it at this stage.
5. When the cookie mixture is ready, take a small amount and roll into a ball about 1″ in diameter. Roll the ball in the extra sugar to coat.
Rolling the cookie dough in sugar. This is a pretty traditional step in making the cookies. However, if you prefer not to have the extra sugar, you can skip this step.
Place the ball of dough onto a cookie sheet. Repeat about 4 dozen times. Have no more than 12 per baking sheet because the cookies will spread.
Ready for the oven. The cookies will spread, so be sure to have about 2″ between each ball of dough.
6. Bake the cookies for 15 – 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time.
Now your house will smell like the holidays.