It's never too early to start thinking about Christmas cookies, is it? Not for me. Gingernaps are some of my favorites - the crunch of the sugar topping, the soft and tender interior, the caramel-y molasses and the bold spices. It's familiar, and it's comforting, and cookies like these are the essence of why I bake.
My goal is to share the recipes I love, no matter who came up with them, and not doctor them just to keep up with the other bloggers whose goals differ from mine. These gingersnaps are a recipe I truly love, and one I've made for every Christmas since my first year out of college, when I picked up the wonderful and totally nondescript cookbook from which they came. I was trying to use up a gift card. Little did I know this book was totally worth full price.
The problem with most gingersnaps is that they taste delicious but the texture isn't quite right. Many recipes produce a batter that spreads way too much, producing a hubcap sized, crunchy wafer. That's a big oh-no-no in my book. Gingersnaps should be soft and pillowy and luxurious to bite into, their texture offering a comfort to match the rich and complex melding of spice and molasses that just makes you want to curl up in your PJs in front of the fireplace with a book, and never put on real pants again. This one fits the bill perfectly.
These are the best gingersnaps I have ever had, and there is nothing I would suggest changing about this recipe, except, if you have the time and inclination, refrigerate the dough overnight, then roll out and cut into gingerbread men and women, like I did last year.
This recipe is a classic, must-have cookie for the holiday season, and I really hope you'll consider adding it to your holiday baking plans this year. In fact, go ahead and make a double batch to give as gifts or add to the Thanksgiving table. There is no better way to welcome the holidays than with a classic gingersnap!
Adapted, really, really slightly, from the Christmas Cookies from the Whimsical Bakehouse cookbook
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (room temperature)
1 cup granulated sugar + more for garnish
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup molasses
4 cups all-purpose flour, measured using the spoon-and-level method
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon table salt
2 Tablespoons ground ginger
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed for 3-5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
Add eggs and molasses and mix until smooth.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and baking soda) to thoroughly combine and get rid of any clumps.
Add the dry ingredients to the mixer approximately one cup at a time, mixing on low speed just until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl in between additions of flour mixture.
Use a 2" ice cream scoop to scoop balls of dough and roll the top half of the dough ball in granulated sugar. Evenly space six balls of dough on a cookie sheet and bake for 11-15 minutes until the cookies become puffy and the edges are very slightly golden brown. These cookies are best when they are slightly undercooked after 11-12 minutes. If you want them to be all the way done, bake for the entire 15 minutes.