Gingersnap Cookies

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My mother doesn’t bake. She’s a great cook, but she avoids recipes and baking usually entails rather particular recipes, so she leaves the baking to my father and me. She also has a well developed sweet tooth, so when she has a hankering for a baked good she drops oh so many not-so-subtle hints about what would be really wonderful for dad or me to make. Her most requested cookie?

Her most loved cookie amongst our vast repertoire of cookies, is this one, the ultra-thin gingersnap. Thin and crisp, the cookie practically melts in your mouth. Once you have one, it is almost impossible to stop eating them.

Gingersnap Cookies

The original recipe was passed along from food blogger to food blogger years ago by a woman who has since stopped blogging. She claimed to have gotten the recipe from Chez Panisse, when she asked for it while interviewing for a job.

The two keys to this recipe I’ve found are 1) slicing the frozen cookie dough as thin as possible, the thinner the cookie, the crispier it will be, and 2) including the 1/8 of a teaspoon of finely ground black pepper that the recipe calls for.

Black pepper is an odd ingredient to add to a cookie, but you’ll just have to take it on faith that it works in this recipe. Unless you have an aversion to black pepper, be sure to include it.

Gingersnap Cookies Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Freezing time: 12 hours
  • Yield: Makes 6 to 8 dozen cookies

In place of parchment I've started to use silicone baking sheets for cookie making; nothing sticks to these mats and clean-up is a breeze.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 small eggs or 1 1/2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

Method

1 Beat butter, add sugar, add vanilla, eggs, add molasses: Beat the butter until soft; add sugar, and beat until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and eggs, and beat until fluffy.  Add molasses and beat until well-mixed.

2 Whisk together dry ingredients: Vigorously whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, finely ground black pepper) in a bowl.

3 Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients: Add flour mixture to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, 1/3 at a time.  Mix only until the dry ingredients become incorporated.

4 Press into lined loaf pan, freeze: Line a 9" x 5" loaf pan with plastic wrap, so that some hangs over the outsides.  Press the dough into the bottom of the pan.  Pack it tightly, and try to make the top as level as possible.  Cover the dough with the plastic overhangs.  Freeze until very firm, preferably overnight.

5 Thinly slice from frozen dough: Unwrap and remove dough from the pan.  Slice brick into thin slices, no more than 1/8".

6 Bake: Working in batches, place thin slices on a parchment or a Silpat-lined sheet pan (space at least an inch apart) and bake at 350°F until the edges turn dark brown, 7-12 minutes, depending on how thinly you have sliced the dough. Check the oven for doneness at 7 minutes.

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Gingersnap Cookies

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Showing 4 of 49 Comments

  • Marcy

    Let me start by saying I don’t like things with a strong ginger taste. In fact, I always said I don’t like ginger cookies at all. I made some of these to take to a fondue party as I figured people would like dipping them in chocolate…and then completely fell in love with them. They are amazing. I’ve taken to calling them spice cookies. For those who were concerned about the pepper…my family HATES pepper and they loved these cookies. The only change I made is I used only 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and ginger and added 1 tsp of freshly ground nutmeg (my favorite spice for baking). I did put my first batch in a jelly roll plan so they would be thinner and that worked as well. These are now part of my permanent holiday cookie list (I made 3 batches of these this season alone) and will likely use during the year as well. They are great with hot cocoa or coffee too!

  • Rachel

    Hi Elsie,

    These are the best gingersnaps I have ever made! What is great is that the dough can be frozen, which I think make it easier to cut when your are ready to bake some cookies. My only challenge is cutting them evenly and as thin as possible. I do like them to be crisp. Do you have any suggestions?

    Again, thanks for sharing!!

    Rachel

  • Nancy

    These were really good . I followed someone’s suggestion and made them in a plastic wrapped plastic wrap box . Cookies were then square .
    I think next time I will add cloves as that is in my usual grandma recipe and I think I missed that flavoring . Loved being able to slice them . Much less messy than rolling into balls and sugar :)

  • Ronald

    Hi Elise, I am from Holland and came across your site…mouthwatering pictures, clear recipes, well done! Making the Gingersnap cookies, I like to avoid wheat if I can for health reasons. So can I simply substitute the all purpose flour for almond meal or do I have to just the other ingredients? I know almond meal is not as ‘sticky’ and has oil in it…do I just use less butter and add arrowroot? Any experience with this?
    Thanks in advance :-)

  • Gina

    These are by far the best gingersnap cookies I’ve ever tasted. I made them for a cookie exchange 2 weeks ago and then again for Christmas Eve. Delightlfully delicious! I would like to know if there is a way to roll the dough out thin and flat and use cookie cutters to make holiday shaped cookies. I did try, but the dough was too soft and sticky to flatten and to cut with cookie cutters. Any suggestions? I tried to add a little flour but I could tell that wasn’t going to work. Otherwise, an absolutely perfect cookie! Thank you for sharing it.

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