This time of year cinnamon seems to go with just about everything. Try adding a dash to a latte, a handful to the brine for pork chops, and a sprinkle on top of an apple tarte tatin. But nothing says autumn splendor quite like the spicy bite of gingersnaps, when the power of cinnamon, ginger, and funky blackstrap molasses combine in the quintessential holiday cookie. Gingersnaps are one of my favorite cookies (any time of the year really), and the delicious smell of these beauties baking helps set the festive mood.
Although I don’t go overboard with the ginger in my version (I skip the grated fresh ginger), I do like to add chopped ginger chew candies, creating a spicy caramel-like bite in each one. I also roll them in sugar twice, ensuring a nice crunchy exterior. If you prefer the commercial, crisper taste, cook these at 350°F as the recipe instructs, but if you’d like a chewier, softer cookie, reduce the oven temp to 315°F.
Gingersnaps, slightly adapted from Bon Appètit
Servings: 4 dozen cookies
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground clove
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup vegetable shortening
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
½ cup blackstrap molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼cup finely chopped ginger chews candy
1 cup sugar
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, salt, and pepper, and whisk together. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or using an electric mixer), beat brown sugar, shortening, and butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides halfway through. Reduce speed to low and add egg, molasses, and vanilla; beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat on low just to combine. Mix in the ginger chews (dough will be very wet and sticky).
Place dough on a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper and form a log. Roll the plastic wrap around the dough, making it even all around, and refrigerate until firm, for roughly 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick baking mats. Remove the dough from refrigeration and unwrap. Fill a wide, shallow bowl with the sugar. Using a sharp knife, cut several ½-inch pieces from the dough and drop into the sugar. Cover the dough completely in sugar, roll into balls, then re-cover in sugar. Transfer onto the baking sheets, spacing balls 1½-inches apart. Repeat with the remaining dough. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are firm and centers appear cracked, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool.