I had planned out my whole cookie “menu” and thought I was done until I saw a facebook post from an aunt of mine that said she was making these ginger snaps and that the recipe is my great grandmothers. Why had I never received this recipe? Or tired one of these cookies? No hard feelings but I HAD to obtain this recipe! I’m so glad I did because these are wonderful!
They are full of flavor, have a nice crunch to the outside and then are so soft and dense in the middle. Heaven. They are beautifully old-fashioned too, don’t you think?
These are also one of the simpler cookies that I made this year, which is a plus. A simple drop cookie, dipped in a bit of sugar and baked until crackly on the top. The original recipe doesn’t call for orange zest and/or extract but I added it for a bit of brightness. You can’t really taste orange but it’s that something in the background that really gives this cookie a nice complex and full-rounded flavor. Sometimes I find that spice-type-cookies can be a bit heavy but these are not and I attribute that, in part, to the added orange. I’m sure they are wonderful without this as well so if you prefer, just omit these ingredients.
Another thing that I changed about the original recipe is I used half brown sugar and half granulated, while the original called for all brown sugar. I did this because I ran out of brown sugar. I had my ingredients all figured out for my cookie menu, and bought accordingly, so this unexpected addition used more than I had planned for. After some research, I found that many ginger snap recipes use granulated sugar instead of brown all together so I didn’t see the harm. I also used half shortening and half butter instead of all shortening, just because I like butter I think. I suppose I should make this recipe as originally intended at some point but I wonder if I even will because these came out so wonderfully.
Molasses Ginger Snaps
*Prepare dough at least 1 hour before baking
- ¾ cup vegetable shortening
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup unsulfured molasses
- 4 ½ cups unbleached flour
- 3 ½ tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- ½ tsp. cloves (optional)
- 1 tsp. orange extract (optional)
- ½ tbsp. orange zest (optional)
- Cream together the shortening, butter, brown and white sugar until thoroughly blended
- Stir in the eggs, one at a time, scarping the bowl down after each addition
- Mix in the molasses, orange zest and extract
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and cloves
- Mix flour mixture into the egg mixture 1/3 at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition until just mixed
- Chill the dough for at least 1 hour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Prepare baking sheets with nonstick mats or parchment
- Roll dough into the size of large walnuts and dip the tops in sugar
- Place sugar side up, 1 ½ inches apart on prepared baking sheet
- Bake until just done, not hard, about 9-10 minutes. The tops will crack a bit, they are supposed to
- Allow to cool on the baking sheet for a chewier cookie or to a drying rack for a less chewy cookie