Gingersnaps have been enjoyed for centuries. In fact, the early versions of these spiced cookies were likely invented by medieval monks in Germany as early as the 13th century. The recipes were passed down through the generations and found their way to America with the early colonists. They are still enjoyed to this day, especially around the holidays.
The moment you smell the aroma of molasses, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg wafting from the oven, you know the holidays are near. These classic cookies make the perfect edible holiday gift. They're easy to roll and bake and they keep well in an airtight container. Bake up a few batches to give away to friends and family and take a batch along to your next holiday cookie exchange. The spiciness of the ginger and the richness of molasses pairs well with a warm cup of tea or coffee. Of course, during the holidays they also taste great when served with a hot mug of mulled wine.
For added flair, these gingersnap cookies can be rolled in other types of sugar besides the granulated kind. Try rolling the cookie dough in coarser demerara sugar or turbinado sugar for additional texture and sparkle to the finished cookies.
Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare two cookie sheets by lining with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine the butter or shortening, sugar, molasses, and egg until light and fluffy.
In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg.
Stir the flour mixture into the molasses mixture.
Using a 1 tablespoon scoop, form the dough into 1-inch balls and roll in additional granulated sugar.
Place each ball 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 12 minutes for a softer cookie and longer if you prefer a crisper cookie.
Cool on a wire rack.
Store in an airtight container.
Softened Butter vs. Shortening
- This recipe works well with either softened butter or shortening.
- Shortening tends to yield a higher, lighter-textured baked goods, while butter tends to result in cookies that are flatter and crisper.
- Butter imparts more of its own rich flavor in a recipe while shortening remains a neutral flavor, allowing spices to really shine.
- Shortening is soft at room temperature, so if time is of the essence and you don't have any butter softened, it is a good option.
- You may be pleased to know that many major shortening brands now make all of their shortening products without trans fats.