Gingersnap Cookies

Ultra-thin gingersnap cookies with molasses and ground ginger, baked until lightly browned and crispy.

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.

  • Yield: Makes 6 to 8 dozen cookies.

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 Cream 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 Sift the dry ingredients; add to the mixture, 1/3 at a time.  Mix only until the dry ingredients become incorporated.

3 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.

4 Unwrap and remove dough from the pan.  Slice brick into thin slices, no more than 1/8".  Place on a parchment or Silpat-lined sheetpan (space at least an inch apart) and bake at 350 degrees 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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Comments

  1. Cameron

    I LOVE ginersnaps! I do think they are my favorite cookies–next to chocolate chip. I will have to make these when I have the calories to spare. I try not to kvetch too much about fat/calories…but actually, I noticed these don’t have nearly the amount of butter that many ginger snap recipes calling for 3 cups of flour would have. Would you agree, Elise? As well, there seems to be a low porportion of ginger (though, the molasses and cinnamon adds to the flavor of the cookie as much as the ginger does.) Wondering rather than questioning!
    Thank you for the recipe!

    Hi Cameron, I don’t know about the proportions compared to others; all I know is that these cookies turn out great. Even my father, who says “ugh” at the mention of ginger anything likes them. ~Elise

  2. jen

    Hi elise – I have been so pleased with this recipe. I am not a baker, and it was really easy for me to make these cookies. One of the best parts is that it is just sitting in my freezer, ready to be sliced off an cooked. Last night I pulled out the loaf, sliced off a couple cookies, baked them and served them warm with vanilla ice cream. I felt so very martha (or should I say so very elise?)! Thanks again.

  3. Kimbie

    I just have to say thank you for your gingersnaps recipe! I made a huge batch for a friend who was having a Christmas party . She promptly locked them in her cupboard until everyone left. Merry Christmas!

    p.s. I prefer my cookies with a sharper bite, so second time round I used more ginger and pepper.

  4. Dana

    These look absolutely wonderful! I will be making these for a cookie exchange.

    About how many cookies do you get out of a batch?

    Note from Elise: Depending on how thinly you slice them you could make a hundred cookies from one batch. I generally make a batch, put it into the freezer and then slice off as many cookies as I want to make at a time.

  5. Agota

    We love gingersnap cookies! I`m from Europe, and the first of these cookies I tried came from a bag, from our local farmers` market. My sister-in-law is a big fan, so I decided to make some for her. And they turned out so wonderful! My sister-in-law told me they were even better than the ones she buys at the store. Coming from her, that`s a BIG thing, `cause she loves that brand. They also came handy when we had to take my daughter to her doctor`s appointment. (All those long hours of waiting, we always get hungry…;-)) And the fact that it`s a frozen batch, is just a plus. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes with us, dear Elise! ;-) I keep my family satisfied on your recipes.

  6. Ana

    I live in Europe and would try to make this tasty recipe but I cant find molasses in our stores. Is is possible to use enything else instead? I realize it want be the same, but if it is possible please suggest something else. Thank you.

    Yes, use treacle or golden syrup. ~Elise

  7. Lauren

    I haven’t made these, just was thinking that
    a cheese slicer might work to get these cookies to all have about the same thickness.

    That’s an interesting idea Lauren. If you try it please let us know how it turns out. ~Elise

  8. HisFireFly

    I could not believe how wonderful these are! I’m giving them away to friends for Christmas but really want to eat them all myself. This coming from a woman who truly does NOT like molasses and never really cared for ginger snaps. Thank you, thank you for sharing such a delightful recipe.

  9. David

    Hi Ana: Many health food stores in Europe carry molasses. (In France it’s called mélasse.) You can also use treacle, which is from Britain and can be found in many shops and grocers that carry products from the UK.

    Note that American molasses is milder, so you may wish the cut the strong molasses with some honey or Golden Syrup.

  10. Greg

    I love gingersnaps and they are my favourite winter cookie. I’ll definitely try this version, if only because the addition of pepper sounds so intriguing. Personally I prefer a slightly chewy cookie and one with more kick. (The recipe I use most often is from The New Basics and calls for 1/4 cup of ginger to 4 1/2 cups of flour!) Thanks Elise for providing another excuse to make gingersnaps!

  11. Kay

    Can’t wait to try these! For a vairiation, I like to spread a little pineapple cream cheese on gingersnaps.

  12. Sondra

    Alton Brown uses an electric knife to slice refrigerator cookies. I borrowed one and tried it for some coconut cookies I make. It works so beautifully that I’m going to buy one the next time I see a sale. I bet it would be great for slicing these yummy-sounding ginger snaps as well.

  13. Jessica

    I cannot wait to try this recipe! Earlier today I was thumbing through my “Fanny at Chez Panisse,” a children’s recipe book that my mother had given me when I was eight, and saw this exact recipe and thought I might try it. But seeing it confirmed as a good recipe on your blog means I must try it.

  14. Tres Amie

    These sound like Belgian Speculoos, a dark, spicy butter cookie. The most common brand seen in the Eastern US is Jules Destrooper, imported from Belgium.

  15. jo

    Hi Elise – I’ve been enjoying your blog for some time now. Thanks for all the wonderful recipes you’ve shared over the years. I love gingersnaps too so I’ll definitely try this version. Sometimes for freezer cookies, I roll the dough into a log, place it into an empty plastic wrapped-lined aluminun foil box (or similarly shaped box). You can then gently shape it inside the box as you instructed with the loaf pan. You’ll get a smaller, more square-shaped cookie. Since the box has its own cover, the dough is protected in the freeezer too. One just needs to be careful about the serrated egde. Best Wishes !

  16. TexasDeb

    Turns out these are wonderful served crumbled under sliced strawberries that have been macerated in basalmic vinegar with a little sugar. Which I realize is gilding the lily a bit because these cookies are amaaaazing as they are. Thanks for another great recipe.

  17. wichitarick

    First comment. What you said about Mom is me also. I cook , have a sweet tooth and don’t bake. LOL “too many rules”
    I have this mixed. Molasses is a treasure for me.mmm or sorghum.
    I had white pepper instead. I will now mix this with Anise instead of the Ginger?mmm very strong flavor. Also, have for years used a mixture of molasses and coffee sometimes brewed then reduced slowly or now I like instant coffee and molasses and powdered creamer mixed while heating in a slow cooker, strong but I use it everywhere for flavoring.
    Thanks I will eat the whole batch . Rick

  18. Amy

    How do you get half an egg? Do you just use the egg white or the yolk?

    Beat them first, then just use half of that mixture. ~Elise

  19. Erin

    These sound amazing. Gingersnaps are my favourite cookies. Unfortunately my roommate is allergic to cinnamon (something I had never heard of until I met her) so I don’t get to bake anything with cinnamon. Do you have any suggestions for a substitution?

  20. Karen

    I did save this recipe out from a Chez Panisse source. But having you give a firsthand account helps. They are very similar to speculoos, speculaas – belgian, scandanavian what have you. Often they are garnished with slivers of almond. I love the chewey drop type too, but these are more like Moravian ginger cookies, and make me think of Christmas!

  21. Lori

    Elise, I have used many of your recipes always with much success. Today I made the ginger snaps and they are fantastic! I only had cake flour in the house so they are chewier than regular “snaps” but we actually like them better. Just the right amount of “bite” for a ginger snap.

  22. Kevin

    How long are you able to leave the mix frozen? If we wanted to cut off a quarter of the mix to make each weekend for a month, would you think that would be viable?

    Yes. I’ve left the dough in the freezer for several weeks without a problem. ~Elise

  23. Shirley

    Erin, My mother is allergic to cinnamon and as I’m getting older I am beginning to have problems with it as well. I’ve found that freshly ground nutmeg is a great substitute in recipes.

  24. Preeta

    Hi Elise,

    The only molasses I can find at the health food stores and specialty groceries where I live in France is “mélasse noire,” or blackstrap molasses. Do you think the flavour would be too strong for this recipe? Should I use less of it, or just substitute with treacle or golden syrup (both of which are readily available in the British aisle of the supermarket)? Thanks in advance for your advice!

    David Lebovitz mentioned in his comment on this recipe (see about the 10th comment down or so) that in France it’s called “mélasse”, and it is stronger than regular molasses in America. If you can get treacle in the British aisle that would work. Otherwise cut the French molasses with some honey or golden syrup (according to David). ~Elise

  25. Christy

    I just made these today and boy they are delicious! I too like chewy cookies so I sliced mine a bit thicker than the 1/8″

    I didn’t have ground ginger, so I grated up an inch nob of fresh ginger and added chopped up crystalized ginger to the batter (about 1/4 cup).

    The other changes: upped the vanilla and ground pepper (though these changes were made accidentally by my 2 seven year old sous chefs). Was a bit worried by the 1/2 tsp of pepper, but cookies were still good and the kids loved them :)

  26. Angie

    I like this recipe and just scraped the inside of a vanilla bean instead of using extract. It brought in a very interesting flavor with the ginger. Have you ever done that before or noticed a big flavor difference between extract and beans?

    I haven’t done that with this recipe, but often use real vanilla bean (scraped) instead of extract for a more intense flavor in other recipes. ~Elise

  27. Teresa

    Elise! I finally got around to making these this morning. I have a boss who has recently beaten cancer. She was saying that everything tasted metallic to her except for GINGER. These are fabulous! I can’t wait to send a plate home to her and I will for sure be making these over and over again in the future!

  28. mikki

    Thanks so much for posting this amazing recipe. Gingersnaps are a family favorite. I’ve already shared the recipe with several friends and family members. We have made up two batches of dough in the last 3 days and have had friends stopping by to see if any snaps were left in the cookie jar. My husband has requested to keep the jar full, so it seems that we will always have a batch ready to go in the freezer. Plus they bake sooo quickly that even my 3 yr old can endure the baking process. Thanks again for a new family favorite!

  29. mikki

    Oh and before I forget, I used one extra large egg for the recipe instead of the 1 1/2 lg or 2 small eggs, and decided to use spelt flour instead of all purpose. The results were amazing!

  30. claire cork

    Hello!

    I’ve been admiring this recipe for a while now and finally got around to trying it out. They taste great, but when I took the pan out of the freezer the dough was still pretty gooey and hard to slice thin. Did I miss a step? I did use margarine instead of butter. Would that have been the cause?

    Sounds like the dough wasn’t in the freezer long enough, or the freezer isn’t cold enough. I don’t think it was the margarine, but I could be mistaken. Butter firms up pretty quickly in the freezer. ~Elise

  31. Katie

    Oh my goodness. These are awesome! I’m having a hard time getting a uniform shape but it doesn’t really matter because they taste fanflippingtastic! I would compare them to the ones you can buy at Cost Plus World Market, only spicier. So good!

  32. Gordon

    My great aunt and my mother used to often make gingersnaps when I was young and they were always my favorite. When they made them they would roll the firm dough out flat and thin (about an 1/8th inch like you suggest) using a rolling pin and then cut the dough with cookie cutters into different shapes. Do you think your recipe would work with rolling and cookie cutters or do you think it has to be sliced off the frozen ‘log’?
    Just wondering…because my kids would like the different shapes. Thanks! I look forward to trying the recipe.

    The unfrozen dough is quite soft, so you definitely want to chill it before attempting to roll it out. Then you may want to chill it again once it is rolled out, otherwise you’ll have difficulty lifting out the cookie shapes. ~Elise

  33. Gordon

    Thanks! One more question: I only have salted butter on hand. I see the recipe calls for 1/2 tsp salt. Is it possible to eliminate or reduce the added salt and use salted butter instead? Do you know a good rule of thumb on how much salt is in a 4oz stick of butter? Is this a doable substitution? Or should I just use the salted butter and add a little salt anyway? Thanks!

    I don’t have a rule of thumb regarding salted butter, but you might be able to find one online. As for this recipe, I think if you used salted butter you should just leave out the added salt. ~Elise

  34. brian

    I made this recipe last night as a surprise dessert for my wife. I didn’t have time to cool them, so I made balls, rolled them in coarse sugar, and flattened them before baking. (I also used white pepper instead of black). She stole one as soon as she got home and I heard the “mmmm” from 2 rooms away!
    We ate them with homemade ricotta/chocolate chip ice cream. I highly recommend trying this combo.
    Thanks for a great recipe. It’s going in my binder.

  35. don hearn

    This recipe for gingersnap cookies is hands down the very best anywhere! However, I find it much better to divide the dough into thirds, and then roll each third into a log, about nine inches long, then wrap the log in plastic wrap and freeze.. This way, when you slice the log, the cookies are round, rather than loaf shaped.. These are so delicious, it’s difficult to stop eating them! Thank you for sharing this recipe.. P.S. I agree that the pepper is really a plus! I use a pepper grinder to get the freshest ground pepper…

  36. julie

    I just tried this recipe yesterday for the first time… I accidentally added way too much salt and they were still unbelievably delicious! I made another batch of the dough to leave in my freezer… These will definitely be a go-to item for me from now on… thank you SO much for sharing :)

  37. Sara

    I came across your site recently and I’m absolutely in love with it!!!! Baked cookies for the first time in my life using your oatmeal and raisin recipe and it was awesome….!

    For the ginger snaps, can I use fresh ginger? Also, can I substitute molasses with honey?

    For these gingersnaps you will need to use both ground ginger and molasses. You might be able to find a different recipe online that uses honey and fresh ginger. ~Elise

  38. Sara

    Just took out the first batch of these cookies from the oven. Its fantastic!!!!

    Though I did find recipes using honey, was not too confident about using them. So I decided to go ahead with your recipe and substituted honey for molasses and replaced one cup of granulated sugar with dark brown sugar. It came out well, except that, I like it a bit more ‘gingery’. So next time gonna up the ginger a bit.

    Thankyou for another great recipe!!!!