I am a notoriously bad gift-giver. True, I have gotten better over the years, and I must say that the Booze Hound’s big Christmas gift this year was quite good, but birthdays make me break out into a little cold sweat, and Christmas… well, Christmas elicits a big cold sweat. And it doesn’t help that my friends, family and husband are great gift-givers.
Maybe I need to get on Pinterest for great ideas? Except that Pinterest is great for people who can make stuff, but it’s kryptonite for people who can’t because if you like something, there’s someone on Etsy who can make it for you. And although I’m a bad gift-giver, I’m a fantastic shopper for myself. My house would be adorned with adorable handmade things, and I would vault to champion Christmas Elf of gift-giving… which will come in handy when we have to crash on our friends’ couches because our monthly mortgage payment has gone to Etsy.
But friends, I am here today to give you an (uncharacteristically) great gift: the gift of gingersnaps. I should have mentioned above that in addition to gift cards, food gifts are my jam. Will you receive them way after Christmas in ziploc bags instead of cute, Pinterest-inspired tagged gift bags? Yes. But I promise they still taste perfect.
I know gingersnaps are not the most alluring of cookie. There’s no nutella, salted caramel, brown butter or bacon (aka the four hottest baking trends right now). There are no chunks, there are no layers. There’s no sexy, unique combination of ingredients. So why should you bother making them, these boring Aunt Mildred cookies, when there are so many feisty Cousin Lola varieties to choose from this time of year? I will answer that question with another question:
Have you ever had a bad gingersnap?
My guess is YES, you have, and that’s why you never make them. And you know what? I totally hear you. Grocery store gingersnaps are too small, hard and spiced- not nearly sweet enough. Typical homemade ones (often described as molasses cookies) are too cake-y and are not spiced nearly enough. And unlike a chocolate chip cookie, which is redeemed by the sheer presence of chocolate chunks, a bad gingersnap has no redeeming qualities. It’s the one cookie left in the office party pack, and everyone knows why. It was even beaten out by the fruitcake. Ouch.
These gingersnaps are different. They are from my grandmother’s old school American Heritage Cookbook. They are large and thin, with crispy edges and a chewy center that gives ever so slightly when you bite it. They are perfectly sweet and spicy. They are the one thing for which I will purchase Crisco.
These gingersnaps are my favorite cookie at my Gluhwein party and, along with my candied cranberries (another future post- stay tuned), are the only ones that make an appearance every year. I’m a sucker for all the aforementioned brown butter-salted caramel goodies du jour, but gingersnaps have a standing invitation. Did I mention they are the one thing for which I will buy Crisco? You know how Crisco is, like, 100% against my food philosophy? Yeah, these are worth it.
Enjoy making these cookies, and if you wrap them up in cool Pinterest-inspired packaging you can buy on Etsy, tell me about it and send me the link 🙂
Warmest holiday wishes from all of us over here at Food Hound Nation!! May your 2013 be merry, bright, and full of amazing food! And now that we’re home from our Christmas travels, I’ll get back on the posting bandwagon AND make/deliver all my sweet holiday treats for our friends in chic Ziploc bags. I may be WAY past Christmas but I’ll totally be in time for President’s Day.
- ¾ c butter, at room temperature
- ¾ c shortening (gross, I know... but SO worth it)
- 2¾ c sugar, divided
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- ½ c molasses
- 4 c AP flour
- 2 t baking soda
- 2 t cinnamon
- 2 t cloves (this is a lot, but it's not a typo)
- 2 t ground ginger
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Combine the flour, baking soda and spices in a large bowl and set aside.
- Beat the butter and shortening until soft and light, then add 2 cups of the sugar, a little at a time, and continue beating until mixture is very fluffy. Beat in the eggs and molasses thoroughly. Add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture little by little until thoroughly incorporated. The dough will be quite soft. (At this point, you can put the dough in the fridge until you're ready to bake, or you can bake right away; the dough keeps well in the fridge for a few days.)
- Roll pieces of the dough into balls about 1½-2 inches in diameter (depends how large you like your cookies), then roll each ball in the remaining sugar. Place 8-10 balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (this should prevent the cookies from spreading into each other) and bake 9-10 minutes. Allow them to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.