Gingersnap cookies are crackly and crunchy with an assertive spice flavor. You can adjust the baking time to make the cookies as chewy or as crunchy as you like them. Either way, they are addictively delicious.
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What is the difference between gingerbread cookies and ginger snap cookies?
Gingerbread dough is rolled thin and the cookies are cut out with a cookie cutter. Because the dough does not spread much in the oven, gingerbread is often cut into festive shapes and decorated for the holidays. Gingerbread cookies are usually crisp around the edges and soft in the middle.
Gingersnap cookie dough is scooped into balls and rolled in sugar before baking. The cookies spread and crackle in the oven. A good gingersnap cookie is crisp enough to “snap” when you break it in half.
Compared to gingerbread dough, gingersnaps have less moisture and more sugar. A low moisture dough bakes up more crisp than soft. There is also a relatively large amount of baking soda in gingersnap dough. The baking soda helps create the crackled texture on the surface of the cookie.
Ingredients for Gingersnap Cookies:
- Shortening: Shortening has less moisture than butter. A low moisture cookie dough will make a very crisp and “snappy” cookie.
- Brown Sugar: There is a relatively high proportion of sugar in this dough. The sugar absorbs moisture in the dough, melts in the oven and hardens as it cools.
- Molasses: Molasses gives these cookies their signature flavor and color.
- Baking Soda: There is way more baking soda than is needed for simple leavening in this dough. The extra baking soda causes the cookies to puff up and crackle in the oven. The cookies are nice and crisp, but not too hard thanks to larger air bubbles created by the baking soda. I used the same technique to create light and crisp Lemon Thins.
- Spice: Loads of ground ginger is added for a prominent ginger flavor. Black pepper adds a little bite and the other spices round out the flavor.
How to make Gingersnaps:
- Cream the butter with the brown sugar, then add the molasses and egg.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
- Use a scooper or spoon to form 1 1/2″ dough balls.
- Roll the dough balls in sugar to coat completely.
- Line the cookie balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- As the cookies bake they will puff up and crackle.
- Cool the cookies on the sheet pan for extra “snappy” cookies.
Pastry Chef Tips for making Gingersnaps:
- If you want cookies that are slightly chewy in the middle bake until the edges are crisp but the centers are still soft (closer to 12-13 minutes).
- If you want cookies that are crisp all the way through bake until the center of the cookie is mostly set (closer to 14-15 minutes). Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking pan rather than transferring to a cooling rack.
- Don’t grease the pan or use a non-stick pan or the cookies will spread too much. Parchment paper is best for cookies and a silicone baking mat is second best. If you must butter the pan then also flour the pan to slow the spread of the cookies.
How to work ahead:
- The bowl of cookie dough or the scooped balls can be refrigerated up to a day. Do not roll the dough balls in sugar until you’re ready to bake.
- Freeze the dough balls (without rolling them in sugar) on a baking sheet until firm. Pack them into a freezer bag. They can be stored in the freezer up to a month.
- The cookies can be baked straight from the freezer. Roll the frozen dough balls in sugar then bake. You may need to add a minute or two to the baking time for completely crisp cookies.
How to store gingersnap cookies:
- The baked cookies will keep for up to a week in a covered container at room temperature.
- The cookies can be packed into a freezer bag and held up to a month. They might loose a little crispness in the freezer but will still taste great.
If you love big gingery flavor you should try these recipes:
- Chewy Ginger Cookies filled with Pumpkin Ganache
- Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
- Pear Gingerbread Upside Down Cake
- Gingerbread Scones
- Triple Ginger and Cranberry Biscotti
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
Gingersnap Cookie Recipe
- 12 ½ oz all-purpose flour (2 ½ cups)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 3 oz unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 3 oz vegetable shortening
- 8 oz dark brown sugar (1 cup)
- 4 oz molasses (⅓ cup)
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup granulated sugar
Make the Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line 2 half sheet pans with parchment paper. Sift together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, salt, pepper and cloves. Set aside12 ½ oz all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 2 tablespoons ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp ground black pepper, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- On medium high speed, cream together the butter, shortening and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the molasses and mix to combine. Add the egg and mix to combine. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.3 oz unsalted butter, 3 oz vegetable shortening, 8 oz dark brown sugar, 4 oz molasses, 1 large egg
- Place the granulated sugar into a wide shallow bowl. Use a scooper or a tablespoon to portion the cookies into 1 1/2" balls. Drop each cookie ball into the granulated sugar and roll to coat. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets.½ cup granulated sugar
- Bake until the cookies are set, about 12-15 minutes (see note). As they bake the cookies will puff up, then settle down and crackle. Cool on the sheet pan for 5 minutes and then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
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