When baking, I routinely ignore the instruction to CHILL dough. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m impatient or just arrogant, but I confidently believe that my products will turn out just fine without the extra fridge time. (This could be a telling glimpse into my psyche and a metaphor for my life. I would certainly benefit from being a little more chill, myself. … But I digress. …) With this recipe, you really need to CHILL. Giving the dough a few hours in the fridge affects the texture of the finished product, and it’s well worth it.
These are my favorite ginger snaps! One of the main reasons is the previously mentioned texture. They are thin and crispy, but not hard. When you bite into one, it will dissolve in your mouth. (Thanks to the CHILLING.) They’re also sweet, spicy, and so delicious. I have a list of friends who request them every year, and I’m always glad for an excuse to make them.
Over the years, I’ve tried to tweak the recipe by substituting butter for the shortening. After all, what’s not improved by butter? Incredibly enough, the answer is, these cookies! Butter makes them come out really flat and chewy, and the crispy, melt-in-your mouth texture is gone. I also tried substituting coconut oil with equally disappointing results. Bottom line … don’t mess with perfection … and CHILL!
Anyway, my mom has been making these cookies for as long as I can remember. She got the recipe from her friend, Celia Marchant, whose parents immigrated from Germany. So I believe a recipe that’s been in my family for almost 50 years, and came directly from the old country, should be honored and preserved. In that spirit, here we go.
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups shortening, melted and cooled
- ½ cup molasses
- 2 large eggs
- 4 cups flour
- 4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Sugar or sparkling sugar to decorate tops
- In a small saucepan over low heat, melt shortening, and cool. (about 20 minutes)
- In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon, and whisk.
- Beat together sugar and melted shortening until light and fluffy. Add molasses and eggs, and beat well. Add dry ingredients, and mix just until incorporated.
- Chill for 1-2 hours, or overnight.
- When you're ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F, and line baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
- Roll into balls and place on prepared baking sheets. Dip the bottom of a glass in sugar, and press down dough balls. (Dip in sugar before each ball.) Sprinkle tops with sparkling sugar, if desired.
- Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. (Cookies will be dry and puffy when done, but they’ll flatten as they cool.) Cool on cookie sheet for 3 minutes, then transfer to wire cooling racks.
In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine and whisk the following:
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
When you’re ready to bake, line cookie sheets with parchment or silicone mats, and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.