Is there anything that says Christmas like a gingersnap? As far as I'm concerned, there really isn't. That is why I decided to make some for my family's tree-trimming session last Friday evening. Take a gingersnap or two and add a hot chocolate and a lit up tree and you have everything you need to ease you into the holiday season.
Now, for those of you who have been following along, a few weeks ago, I shared a recipe for ginger cookies. You might wonder why I would make post two recipes for ginger cookies withing about a month of one another. Well, the answer is simple. The only thing these two cookies have in common is the fact that the word "ginger" is in the name. The other recipe yields a cookie that has a soft interior while these ones are hard and crispy, like a graham cracker. Second, those cookies are predominantly sweet in taste with an additional kick from the spices whereas these ones call for so much ginger, that you will find your mouth almost tingling as you eat them. Third, while the other recipe makes drop cookies, this one requires you to make the dough, refrigerate it, roll it out, and then refrigerate it again before baking so they are best made when you have a little extra time (of course, you could always make the dough and then freeze it for later use if you want to be able to make ginger snaps at a moment's notice). However, the fact that you can cut them with a cookie cutter into stars, stockings, or trees certainly does make them feel more festive and just a little more special on that cookie tray.
Spicy Gingersnap Cookies
Inspired by a recipe for graham crackers on Smitten Kitchen
Yep, that's right. Yesterday's post was a granola from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook and today's recipe was inspired by her graham cracker recipe, which I adore. I made the crackers to have something natural and not-too-sweet on hand for when guests are over and there are people eating dessert in front of him but I ate a lot of them myself because they were so delicious. And, as I was enjoying their crisp, crunchy texture, it occurred to me that if I spiced up the batter and swapped the honey for molasses, I could probably make fantastic gingersnaps. Needless to say, my experiment worked out beautifully. However, I did cut her recipe in half. Using a 2.5" star-shaped cookie cutter, I got exactly 24 cookies.
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tsp. whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
2 tsp powdered ginger
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
3 tbsp candied ginger, minced
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
3.5 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
2.5 tbsp molasses (not blackstrap)
2.5 tbsp of milk
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar for sugar coating.
- Combine the flour, sugar, spices, crystallized ginger, baking soda, and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the mixture to combine the ingredients. Yes, your minced ginger will get even smaller and won't even always be discernible in the mixture, but it will give your cookies that ultra spicy kick.
- Add butter Pulse on and off until mixture is the texture of coarse meal and the biggest lumps are approximately pea-sized.
- In a small bowl, whisk together molasses, milk, and vanilla extract.
- Pour it over the dry ingredients and pulse it until the dough begins to come together. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Pat it together into a square and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Store in refrigerator for at least two hours. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Once dough has chilled, take about half of the dough and roll it out on a floured cutting board. I also sprinkle flour on top of the dough and roll it out until it is about 1/8" thick. Lightly flour a cookie cutter and cut dough. Then dip shapes into the bowl of sugar to create sugar-coated tops. Place them onto the baking sheets and place them in the fridge to chill for another forty minutes or place them in the freezer for twenty minutes. This ensures that the crackers will keep their shape. While the fist sheets are chilling, I preheat the oven to 350 degrees (ensure that one oven rack is at the bottom of the oven and the other at the top) and continue rolling and cutting the rest of the dough on baking-sheet-sized sheets of parchment paper. I then place them on a cutting board while they are chilling. This way I can pop them in the oven shortly after taking the first batch out since they will have already chilled.
- Place one cookie sheet on the bottom rack and one at the top. I bake mine for a total of 12 minutes and they turn out perfectly crunchy. Any more than that, and they burn, but that will depend upon your oven. They are ready when they are brown and slightly firm to the touch.
- Let them cool on the cookie sheet for 3 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.
Thanks again to Menu Planning Magic for organizing this hop!