Ginger Snaps

March 28, 2006 at 10:32 am (A minus, Alice Medrich, Cookies, Derek's faves, Dessert)


Last night I made gingersnaps from Alice Medrich’s cookbook Cookie and Brownies. Derek said they were the best cookies he ever had. Though I enjoyed them, I suspected hyperbole, and when challenged he said they were at least the best cookies I ever made. A compliment? An insult? I’m not sure.

Ginger Snaps

Makes 96 1 3/4-inch cookies or 48 2 1/2-inch cookies or 20? 2 3/4-inch cookies.

Ingredients

  • 8 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (10 oz.?)
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1.5 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp salt (fine?)
  • 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar, lump free
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger (2 2/3 ounces)
  • About 1/4 cup additional granulated sugar or coarse white crystals, for rolling the cookies

Equipment

2 cookie sheets, lined with parchment paper or ungreased

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, or in the center if you will bake only 1 sheet at a time.
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan (1.5-2.5 quart) and let cool a bit.
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a medium bowl and mix together thoroughly with a whisk or a fork. Set aside.
  4. Combine the warm (not hot) butter, molasses, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and the egg in the saucepan . Mix thoroughly. Add to the flour mixture along with the crystallized ginger and stir until incorporated.
  5. Form the dough into 1 1/4-inch balls (slightly more than 1 level Tbs. of dough) to make cookies 2 1/2 inches in diameter of use 1/2 Tbs. of dough to make 1 3/4 inch cookies. Roll dough balls in sugar and place them 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets. (No need to flatten them–they’ll do that themselves.) Bake for 10 to 12 minutes for large cookies, 8 to 10 minutes for small cookies, or until they puff up, crack on the surface, and then deflate in the oven. For chewier cookies, remove them from the oven when at least half of the cookies have begun to deflate; for crunchier edges with chewy centers, bake a minute or so longer. Rotate the sheets from back to front and top to bottom about halfway through the baking time to insure even baking.

Slice the parchment liners onto racks or use a metal pancake turner to transfer the cookies from the pan. Cool completely before stacking or storing. Cookies served on the day they are baked will be chewy with crunchy edges. Ginger snaps become completely chewy stored in an airtight container. They are best eaten within 3 days.

My Notes

I made mine larger than specified, so only got about 18 cookies out, each about 2 3/4 inches in diameter. They have about 150 calories each. The batter was heavenly, and the warm cookies were almost as good. The next day I found the cookies a bit tough–not crisp but a little tough. Warmed in the oven or microwave they were excellent though. A very nice recipe.

These cookies spread quite a bit, so don’t make the balls too big or put them too close together on the cookie sheet. Balls the size of brussels sprouts will result in quite large cookies.  You really should divide the batter evenly between two cookie sheets.

Notes from try number two: The cookies should be somewhat soft to the touch when you take them out. If you think they’re underdone don’t worry. Even for larger cookies 10 to 12 minutes is plenty. Don’t leave them in any longer than that. Make sure the bottoms don’t get too brown. Use light colored cookie sheets or parchment paper–they’ll cook too quickly on dark cookie sheets.

I like the texture that rolling the cookies in sugars gives, but I find that it makes the cookies just a tad too sweet.  Derek disagrees, but next time I make the cookies I might try adding just a touch of salt to the rolling sugar.

I had to return Cookies and Brownies to the library, but it’s worth checking out again next time I want to make dessert.

Rating: A-
Derek: A

Update Nov 2012:

Derek and I made these cookies last night.  We made 24 larger (about 2.5 inch) cookies and 5 smaller (about 2 inch).  We cooked the larger ones for 10 minutes.

Again, I thought the extra sugar on the outside made the cookies a tad too sweet. I wonder if I can reduce the sugar in the recipe a bit.

Vegan version

A note from my friend Katrina:

I just made a vegan version of the gingersnaps on your blog. WOW. I think they might be the best cookies I’ve ever made, vegan or not. I followed the recipe, substituting 1/4 c canola oil and 1/4 applesauce or the butter, and 2 1/2 T ground flax seed mixed in 3 T water (let it sit for a few minutes) for the egg.

I used a cookie scoop which gave me a yield of 4 doz and only baked each sheet 9 minutes since I wanted a very soft cookie.

And wow, they’re good! XXX claims they taste a little bit “vegan” but I think he’s just being ornery. =)

I’d maybe even try going with more applesauce and even less oil next time since they didn’t seem to suffer at all from the substitution… though 1/4 c oil isn’t so bad.

I tried Katrina’s vegan cookies and the texture was soft and the flavor very good. They tasted a bit sweeter than I remembered, perhaps because they had less fat, and they tasted a bit less spicy. But definitely a success.

Later I tried following her vegan recipe myself, but the texture was totally different! I didn’t roll them in sugar, but otherwise I followed her recipe exactly. But my cookies came out much harder and drier. Not snappy exactly, more tough. I’m not sure what I did wrong.

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7 Comments

  1. Derek Dreyer said,

    These are some of the best homemade cookies I’ve ever had, and they are not labor-intensive.–>

  2. Rebecca said,

    Well I made these too for a friend’s b-day and they are HEAVENLY. They are wonderful with apple cider tea.

  3. captious said,

    What is apple cider tea?

  4. captious said,

    I like the texture that rolling the cookies in sugars gives, but I find that it makes the cookies just a tad too sweet. Derek disagrees, but next time I make the cookies I might try adding just a touch of salt to the rolling sugar.

  5. Dark, spicy gingerbread « The captious vegetarian said,

    […] If you like gingerbread, also check out these ginger snaps. […]

  6. kc said,

    Hi Rose! I made these twice recently, and here are a few of my notes.

    I used a scale, so used 10 oz of flour instead of 2 cups. I tossed the cookies onto a sugary plate on the scale as I made them, getting close to 20 g per cookie, and that made about 40 cookies. (I know, ounces one place, grams another… silly!)

    I melted the butter in the microwave and put the wet ingredients in a bowl instead of combining them in a saucepan, and added the dry to the wet since that’s how I’m used to doing it.

    I used crystallized ginger from a mexican grocery store near us, and it was pretty mild, so the first batch didn’t have enough gingery taste for me. The second time I used the same crystallized ginger but 3 tsp. of dried ginger instead, and I think that’s better. I also used 1 c of brown sugar instead of half white half brown (only since I was running out of white) and it didn’t seem to make a difference.

    Both times I put them in the fridge for maybe ten minutes or more (I put the first set in the fridge on their trays, then the second batch on a plate, and I put the cold cookies on the hot trays, so they had been in the fridge a little longer.) This makes them crack really nicely on the top and not spread as much when baking.

    They were really tasty! Definitely an A(minus?) recipe. 🙂

    • captious said,

      Gingersnaps in July? Interesting… Thanks for all your detailed notes. Now I need to make these again. I haven’t made them in years! I’ll try refrigerating the dough.

      Question: how do you melt butter in the microwave? Whenever I have tried it the butter explodes everywhere.

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