A snap to make—treat your family and friends. Photo courtesy Recchiuti Confections.
Last Updated July 2014
Ginger Snaps Cookie Recipe
Crispy, Spicy Cookies
Ginger snaps are a small, round cookie version of gingerbread cookies, the traditional German Christmas cookie known as Lebkuchen. Gingerbread is traditionally made in shapes—flowers, hearts, the famous gingerbread men, trees and so forth, can vary by size and can be iced and decorated. Snaps are plain rounds.
The cookies—flavored with ginger plus cinnamon, cloves, and sometimes allspice—are called “snaps” because they’re a snap to make. In the U.S. and the U.K., they’re generally 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick. Scandinavian gingersnaps (pepparkakor or spicy cookies), also called ginger thins, are rolled rolled even thinner, and as a result are crisper. Like Lebkuchen, pepparkakor are often cut into decorative shapes, and are generally more highly spiced than ginger snaps.
The history of the ginger snap dates back to the Lebkuchen, which were probably invented by Medieval monks in Franconia, Germany. The earliest written records of Lebkuchen baking are 1296 in Ulm and 1395 in Nuremberg.
This recipe comes from San Francisco chocolatier Michael Recchiuti. These crunchy little cookies lend themselves to many occasions. They’re delicious:
- As a snack or a light dessert, with tea, coffee, hot chocolate and milk
- In ice cream, frozen yogurt (add some caramel sauce)
- In pudding (chocolate, butterscotch, vanilla, rice, tapioca)
- As a pie crust—they will transform your pumpkin pie!
- 2¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated cane sugar
- 1 extra-large egg
- 1/3 cup dark molasses
- 1½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract, preferably Madagascar (Bourbon) vanilla
Make the dough. You can do this part up to three days in advance.
- SIFT the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- PLACE the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- SWITCH the mixer to low speed and gradually add the egg, molasses and vanilla extract. Increase the speed to medium and beat until smooth.
- SWITCH the mixer to low speed and add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, pulsing the mixer to incorporate each addition before adding the next one.
- TURN the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead a few times to incorporate any crumbs.
- DIVIDE the dough in half. Roll each half into a log about 1½ inches in diameter and 12 inches long. As you roll, gently push the ends toward the center to prevent air pockets and to keep the logs at an even thickness.
- WRAP the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.
Bake the cookies.
- PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Line the bottoms of two 12" x 18" sheet pans with parchment paper.
- REMOVE the logs from the refrigerator and unwrap them. Using a ruler and a sharp knife, cut each log into rounds ¼ inch thick. If the dough crumbles as you cut it, reshape each slice.
- PLACE the rounds on the prepared pans, spacing them 2 inches apart. Bake on the middle shelves of the oven, rotating the pans 180° halfway through the baking time, until the cookies are set but soft enough to hold a slight indentation when pressed with a fingertip (about 7 to 10 minutes).
- LET cool completely on the pans on wire racks. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. Yield: 50-60 2-inch cookies.
Recipe © Michael Recchiuti. Other material © Copyright 2005-
Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. Images are copyright of their respective owners.