These cookies put the 'snap' in gingersnap! Not only are they full of spicy ginger flavor and warm spices, but they've also got plenty of that classic, true gingersnap crispness with a gentle, chewy middle. The perfect holiday and cold weather cookie that goes great with a latte, a cup of hot chocolate, or a mug of warm tea.
My mother used to buy these gingersnap cookies in a big brown bag when I was a little girl. I don't remember where she would get them, or what the brand was, but I loved those cookies. The best part was snapping them in half and then enjoying the warm spiciness of ginger and cinnamon, the crunchiness of the edges, and the soft, chewy middles.
As an adult, I can't find the cookies. Not only that but just about every. single. recipe online is for 'soft, chewy' gingersnaps.
No shade but...where's the 'snap' in a soft gingersnap? Honey that's just a gingerbread cookie, let's keep it real.
So here we are, this recipe was developed for the true gingersnap lover. The crisp snap, the spicy ginger flavor, the sugar-coated brown beauty of it all.
What are Gingersnap cookies?
Gingersnaps can be traced back to the European Middle Ages when ginger made it from Asia to Europe, either in Germany or near Germany. As time went on, they were brought to the US by English colonizers.
Gingersnaps were made solely with molasses, which was cheaper and easier to obtain than white granulated sugar, but even with the recipe changes molasses stayed an ingredient. Molasses gives a rich, earthy-sweet flavor and that classic brown-orange color.
How to Make Gingersnaps
The ingredients are super important if you want a snappy gingersnap.
Vegetable Shortening. A must, period. No butter! Butter has water content, which changes the texture of the cookie. If you're looking for a softer, chewier gingersnap, swap the shortening for butter.
Unsulphered Molasses. The classic. This gives gingersnaps their classic flavor (besides the ginger) and molasses is easy to find at grocery stores in the baking aisle.
Ground Ginger. We're using a heaping tablespoon (15 grams) of ginger, which gives a great spice to your gingersnaps. If you don't want a lot of ginger spice, use 2 ½ teaspoons instead.
Cinnamon and Nutmeg. These give the cookies a well-balanced flavor. Make sure you use freshly grated nutmeg if you can! The difference in flavor between fresh nutmeg and pre-ground is out of this world!
Turbinado Sugar. We roll the gingersnaps in a mix of white sugar and turbinado sugar. Turbinado sugar, also called raw sugar in the stores, is coarser than granulated sugar and adds great crush and sparkle to the cookies, but it's optional if you can't find it.
Cream the Fat and Sugar
So to make the gingersnaps we are going to cream the shortening and sugar together. Creaming sugar and fat together isn't just to mix them together, but to aerate the fat, in this case, shortening.
Sugar helps this process, and creaming the fat and sugar together actually gives you more cookies. So don't miss this step, or you'll miss out on cookies.
Add in the molasses (careful, it can get messy), vanilla, and the egg.
In a separate bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, spices) then add the flour mixture in batches to the bowl of wet ingredients. I put about a third of the flour mix into the wet ingredients and mix in well with a rubber spatula before adding the next third of dry ingredients.
Chill the Cookie Dough
Chill the dough for an hour. Chilling the dough lets the flour get hydrated by the wet ingredients, giving the cookies a stronger flavor, making them more tender, and giving them a better shape and spreading less during baking.
After chilling, scoop the dough into small balls with a cookie scoop, then roll them in a mix of granulated and turbinado sugar. This helps the outside have more crispness and adds crunch.
Look at all that sugar. So pretty.
Bake these babies in a 350 degree F oven (180 degrees C) for 13 minutes on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, let them cool for five minutes on the pan, then use a spatula to move them to a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes to cool completely. They will be at supreme crispness once completely cooled.
Pro tIp: How to keep Gingersnaps Crispy
Making snappy gingersnaps is easy. Keeping them snappy is not if you're not careful.
Don't make gingersnaps on a rainy day, they won't be crisp. Blame the humidity.
Keep the cooled gingersnaps in an airtight container to keep them snappy.
Can I Freeze Gingersnap Cookies?
Nothing is better than a cookie right when you need it right? Freeze your gingersnaps in a freezer-safe, zip-top bag for up to 6 months. You can also freeze the unbaked dough on a baking sheet then put them into the freezer-safe zip-top bag to bake whenever needed.
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- ¾ cup (150 g) vegetable shortening
- 1 cup (190 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (165 g) unsulfured molasses
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 2⅓ cups (350 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp (10 g) baking soda
- 1 tbsp (15 g) ground ginger
- 2 tsp (10 g) ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp (3 g) freshly grated nutmeg (or ½ tsp (3 g) pre-ground nutmeg)
- ½ cup (95 g) sugar to roll dough in
- ¼ cup (48 g) turbinado sugar, to roll dough in
- In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream shortening and sugar for about 3 minutes.
- Add molasses, egg, and vanilla extract. Mix again until everything is combined.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, and the grated nutmeg. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in batches (I did about a third of the dry ingredients at a time, mixing in well after each addition).
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill the gingersnap dough in your refrigerator for at least 1 hour up to overnight.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees (180 degrees C).
- Mix turbinado sugar and the ½ cup of granulated sugar together on a large plate.
- Use a small cookie scoop to scoop out dough and roll gently into balls. Roll the cookie dough in the sugar on the plate until fully coated in sugar.
- Place each sugar-coated cookie ball 2 inches apart on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees C (180 degrees C) for 6 minutes, turn the baking sheets 180 degrees for even baking, then bake for another 6-7 minutes.
- Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before carefully transferring to a wire cooling rack to completely cool for 10-15 minutes.
- Keep in an airtight container to keep the gingersnaps snappy for 3-5 days. They will soften the older they are.
Pro Tip: Freezing Cookies and Dough
Freeze your gingersnaps in a freezer-safe, zip-top bag for up to 6 months. You can also freeze the unbaked dough on a baking sheet then put them into the freezer-safe zip-top bag to bake whenever needed.
Want chewy gingersnaps? Leave them in a cookie jar or other not-air-tight container. They'll be soft in a few hours.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 30 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 140Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 75mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 2g
Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.