Here’s a fun fact: humidity makes baked goods go stale. My part of Northern California is not a very humid place, and neither is Wellington, and most of my baking back in Massachusetts took place during the colder parts of the year, so I only just found this out today. When my lovely, fantastically crunchy gingersnaps, went soft and chewy overnight. Apparently a slice of bread in the container helps? Or I need better containers? Or I should have just frozen them overnight. I’m not sure. Any advice would be welcome. Regardless, these were a bit of a disappointment the morning after. Still tasty! But I like my gingersnaps almost hard enough to crack a tooth on.
Still, if you are somewhere less humid, or you have a better storage strategy, or you plan on eating these immediately, you should try this recipe. They are (or, in my case, were) just what a gingersnap should be. Very gingery, not too sweet, a touch of salt, and (did I mention this already?) nice and crunchy. Excellent holiday cookies. Which makes sense because I got the recipe from Alton Brown, and that man knows his cookies.
Alton Brown’s recipe is all done by weights, which is how I measured when I baked these, and which is more or less universally considered more accurate than measuring with cups. But I know not everyone has a kitchen scale (I don’t, but I found one hidden in a cupboard by some former resident of my flat), so I endeavored to note the cup measures as well. I can’t promise they’re exact, but they should be pretty close. I also added some chilling time, which you can totally skip if you want. I just hate working with warm dough.
They’re also all in Imperial weights (ounces), which is not really my style, but that’s what online converters or for.
(Adapted from Alton Brown)
9 1/2 ounces (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
7 ounces (3/4 cup) dark brown sugar
5 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
3 ounces molasses, by weight (just shy of 1/4 cup)*
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
4 ounces finely chopped candied ginger (between 3/4 and 1 cup)
*I rounded my molasses up to the full 1/4 cup to make up for the fact that I only had light brown sugar and not dark. I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen dark brown sugar in this hemisphere.
1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cardamom, clove, and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
3. Beat in the molasses, egg, and fresh ginger, mixing thoroughly (Alton Brown says to stir for about a minute). Stir in the chopped candied ginger. If you’ve been using a hand mixer, now is the time to switch to a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon.
4. Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15-20 minutes.
5. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 175 Celsius (350 Fahrenheit). Line a cookie sheet with baking parchment and form the dough into very small balls (mine were about the size of a rounded teaspoon). Arrange 2 inches apart and bake for 12 minutes. For less crunchy cookies, you can cut the baking size down to 9-10 minutes (or you can make bigger cookies). Cool for at least 30 seconds on cookies sheets, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.