Gingersnap Cookies

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These tender, sweet Gingersnap Cookies have thick, chewy centers with crackling, crisp edges and the perfect blend of holiday spices.

 

A plate of Gingersnap Cookies stacked up.

Gingersnap Cookies

Gingersnap Cookies are the perfect holiday treat — they’re sweet, soft, chewy, and impeccably spiced! These cookies combine ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg which create an unforgettable spiced cookie.

The molasses gives these cookies a deep, rich flavor and a nice chewy texture. And rolling the cookie dough balls in sugar before baking adds a nice crackly top that beautifully complements the soft fudgy interior of the cookie.

If you haven’t settled on what cookies to make for Santa, I think these Gingersnaps will rank as his all-time favorite! 

Process shots of making Gingersnaps: combining all the ingredients.

Let’s talk molasses

The molasses in these cookies add a unique complementary flavor to the spices. It also helps keep the cookies soft and chewy in the center. And, finally, the molasses adds sweetness to these gingersnap cookies.

There are a lot of different molasses choices to pick from at the store that range from lighter molasses to blackstrap. Blackstrap molasses is very intense and a bit off-putting in baked goods. Instead, try dark molasses (also sometimes labeled as “robust” or “full-flavored”). I have tested these cookies with Brer Rabbit® and Grandma’s® and would recommend either — we didn’t find a noticeable difference between the two.

Dark brown sugar

Both light and dark brown sugar contain molasses, but dark brown sugar has more. Because of the increased amount of molasses, dark brown sugar has a darker and deeper color with a stronger flavor. While the two can be interchanged in this recipe, IMHO, these cookies are best with dark brown sugar. 

QUICK TIP

You’ll find dark brown sugar right by light brown sugar and powdered sugar in the grocery store. The two look similar, yet dark brown sugar is darker overall in color. In a pinch, you can even make your own dark brown sugar.

Process shots: mixing the ingredients to form a thick dough; chill; roll dough balls in sugar for Gingersnaps.

Gingersnap Cookie Sugar Coating

To get the crisp sugar that encases these cookies, I roll the unbaked dough in a mix of coarse sugar crystals and granulated sugar before baking. Coarse sugar has large grains and adds a subtle crunchy exterior to the cookies.

Alternative options: You can also roll the cookies in turbinado sugar or roll them in sparkling sugar. And you know what? Even if you roll the cookies in plain white sugar, they’ll still be delicious; they just won’t have much of a sugar crunch coating.

Process shots: chill sugar-coated dough balls again; bake; press edges inward to create crispy edges; let stand on the cookie sheet.

Gingersnap Cookie Variation Ideas

  • Add white chocolate chips to the dough. The white chocolate is such a nice complement to the spices and molasses.
  • Modify the spices. If you aren’t sure about the spices in these cookies, start with less and play around with the amount of spices until you’re happy with the dough. However, keep in mind the dough will have a more intense taste than the baked cookies. As these cookies bake, they get a bit milder.
  • Frost them. If you love frosted cookies, skip rolling these gingersnap cookies in sugar before baking them and frost them instead. The mascarpone cream cheese frosting on these salted caramel cookies would be amazing!
  • Drizzle with chocolate. If you don’t want chocolate chips in the dough, try drizzling chocolate cover the cookies instead! Melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips with 1 teaspoon oil or shortening in the microwave. Transfer the melted chocolate to a bag, cut off the tip, and drizzle over the cooled cookies.

Image of the baked Gingersnaps on a cooling rack.

Gingersnap Cookies FAQs

1What makes cookies chewy?

The more moisture in cookies, the chewier they will be. Ingredients, baking time, and baking temperature all come into play as we work to retain moisture in the dough. The molasses and dark brown sugar both play a huge role in making these gingersnap cookies chewy.

The size or mass of the cookies also contributes to their chewiness. Big cookie dough balls make softer and chewier cookies than smaller ones. When rolling the cookies, roll them taller rather than wider. If you have a food scale, you can ensure completely equal cookie ball sizes. This not only ensures even baking, but it also ensures you’re getting the right size of cookie dough balls.

And the number one way to get chewy cookies? Don’t bake them too long! Remove the Gingersnap Cookies as soon as the top center is pale (not gooey looking). The center of the cookies will remain soft and as they firm up, becoming fudge-like and chewy.

2Why do my Gingersnap Cookies go flat?

There are a few culprits:

  • High altitude
  • Not chilling the dough. Since there is melted butter in the batter, it needs a chance to firm up again.
  • The butter didn’t cool back to room temperature. If the butter was too hot when you added in other ingredients, the cookies will likely end up a bit flat and greasy because hot butter melts the sugars.
  • Too much liquid. If too much liquid is added to these cookies or if the ingredients aren’t properly measured, they will likely go flat.
  • Not enough flour. If you under-measure the flour, these cookies will likely go flat. I always recommend spooning and leveling the flour measurement. If you press a measuring cup into a bag of flour, you will pack in way too much flour; use a spoon to scoop it into a measuring cup and then level the top with the back of a table knife. Flour measurements need to be precise. Too much or too little flour can ruin your cookies!

3Are Gingersnap Cookies good for you?

While Gingersnaps do have some ingredients with health benefits (ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and molasses contains several important nutrients and antioxidants), they are still a treat, best consumed in moderation.

4Why are my Gingersnaps hard?

More holiday treats

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Gingersnap Cookies

5 from 1 vote
These tender, sweet Gingersnap Cookies have thick, chewy centers with crackling, crisp edges and the perfect blend of holiday spices.
Print Recipe

Gingersnap Cookies

5 from 1 vote
These tender, sweet Gingersnap Cookies have thick, chewy centers with crackling, crisp edges and the perfect blend of holiday spices.
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword gingersnap cookies
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings 26 cookies
Calories 252kcal
Cost $4.12

Ingredients

  • 16 tablespoons (1 cup; 227g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (190g) dark brown sugar packed (can use light brown sugar)
  • 2/3 cup (130g) white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (84g) molasses
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (462g) white all-purpose flour (See Note 1)
  • Optional sugar coating: 1/4 cup coarse sugar crystals and 1/4 cup white granulated sugar (or just use 1/2 cup white granulated sugar)

Instructions

  • OPTIONAL COATING: Stir the white sugar and coarse sugar crystals together in a small bowl (optional, but gives the cookie a nice crunchy exterior and extra flavor!). Alternatively, just add 1/2 cup white granulated sugar to a bowl. Set aside.
  • WET INGREDIENTS: Melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Let butter stand at room temperature for 5 minutes to cool back down. If the butter is hot, it will melt the sugars and cause greasy cookies. Use a spatula to scrape every bit of butter into a large bowl. Add in the white and brown sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth and incorporated. Add in both eggs and vanilla extract. Stir until just combined and smooth. Add in the molasses and stir until combined.
  • DRY INGREDIENTS: Add in the baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg on top of the wet ingredients; mix to combine. Add the flour (See Note 1) on top. Mix until just combined taking care not to overmix the dough. Cover the dough tightly and chill for 30 minutes.
  • ROLL COOKIE DOUGH BALLS: Roll tall cylinders of dough. Each ball should be a full 2 tablespoons of dough (40 grams if you have a food scale). Roll the balls of dough generously into the white sugar/white sparkling sugar mixture. Cover and refrigerate the balls of dough for an additional 45 minutes.
  • BAKE: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place dough balls on a parchment or Silpat-lined sheet pan (we like the Silpat sheet best for these cookies), spread far apart (I only bake 6-8 cookies at a time since they spread a lot) and bake for 9-14 minutes. Watch carefully, being sure not to overbake. (We remove ours at 10-11 minutes.) Slightly under-baked Gingersnap Cookies are the best! Remove from the oven and if needed, press the edges of the cookie inwards with the back of a metal spatula. Let cookies stand on the cookie sheet for 4-5 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.
  • STORAGE: Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. They're best enjoyed within 3-4 days. Freeze cookie dough as opposed to baked cookies (see next step).
  • FREEZING DOUGH: Instead of freezing already-baked cookies, freeze the dough! Drop the cookie dough balls on a large sheet pan and freeze until solid. Once solid, transfer the frozen cookie dough balls to an airtight container or bag and freeze for up to 3 months. To bake: You can bake these cookies straight from the freezer. There is no need to thaw, but you may need to add a few extra minutes to the baking time. Bake until the edges are lightly browned, and the center is still soft.

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: If you press a measuring cup into a bag of flour and scoop, you will pack in way too much flour, resulting in the wrong texture of cookie. To accurately measure the flour, spoon the flour into the measuring cup until its overfilled. Then use the back of a table knife to level the measuring cup at the top. (Video visual here).

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 252kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 158mg | Potassium: 88mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 246IU | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 2mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Wonderful recipe! I made these yesterday, and were easy and tasty. They do get a bit hard after cooling, but have a great “snap.” ☻ I did not have molasses, unfortunately, but just used brown sugar instead.
    I also halved the recipe, used granulated sugar instead of course crystals, and increased the serving of ginger (1 and 1/2 teaspoons instead of 1 for a halved recipe). Turned out great! Will definitely make again.

    1. The molasses addition will make sure that they don’t get hard after cooling — it keeps them really soft 🙂 Glad you enjoyed these! Thanks for sharing your changes!

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