The Best Gingersnaps

This recipe comes from The Perfect Cookie, a cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen. It’s the first recipe I’ve tried out of that book, and so far it’s living up to its title. The baking soda gives these a great cracked surface, and baking them longer at a lower temperature makes them completely crunchy like a good gingersnap should be, not chewy like a molasses cookie.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Our chickens aren’t laying large eggs yet, so I’ve just been using two eggs, and I’m probably using more cayenne than “a pinch”, but I don’t know exactly how much. I like them spicy.

Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.

Melt the butter in a skillet (it calls for a 10″ skillet; I have no idea if that’s the size I’ve been using) on medium heat and continue heating it, swirling frequently, until the butter begins to brown. The recipe says this takes 2-4 minutes; I think it took me more like 6 to 8. Maybe they didn’t mean a cast iron skillet, or maybe their medium is hotter. Once the butter is browning, pour it into a bowl large enough to contain all the ingredients, then add the dry spices: ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, cayenne. Let that cool for a few minutes.

Whisk the fresh ginger, brown sugar, and molasses into the butter/spice mixture until combined, then whisk in the eggs until combined. Stir in the flour (I use a spatula for this part) until just combined — don’t over-mix. It will be a pretty loose dough, not something you’d really want to pick up and shape with your hands. Cover it with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator to cool for at least an hour.

With the oven racks at upper-middle and lower-middle positions, heat the oven to 300F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Pour the granulated sugar (we’re using a somewhat coarse sugar, and it works well, but I’m sure regular is also fine) into a shallow dish or bowl. Take roughly tablespoon-sized chunks of dough and roll them into balls a little over 1 inch in diameter. Roll them in the sugar to coat and arrange them on the baking sheets with a couple inches between them. About 20 per sheet should be about right.

The original recipe has you start with just one sheet of cookies on top, then move them down and add the second sheet to the top, then remove the bottom sheet and move the top sheet down, but that seems more fiddly than it’s worth, and baking both sheets at once has worked fine for me. Bake them for about 30 minutes, switching the top and bottom sheets and rotating them front to back halfway through. At 30 minutes, take them out and slide the whole sheet of parchment onto a cooling rack and let them cool. If the cookies aren’t crunchy enough once they’ve cooled you can put them back in and bake them some more — the first batch I made I put them back in for about three minutes and then turned the oven off and let them cool in there for a while. They were plenty crunchy after that.

The recipe says it makes around 80 cookies, but I think they must be using small inches. I got closer to 60, and the smaller ones I made were a little oddly proportioned. I think they didn’t spread as much, and so were more domes than discs. I guess you could press them a bit to slightly flatten before baking? The larger cookies were proportioned like I expected.

If you like your gingersnaps crunchy and spicy, these are the ones.

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