Saturday, November 2, 2013

Ginger Snaps Cookie:Showdown

"We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have." 
 -- Frederick Keonig who was a German inventor best known for his high speed printing press 
which he built with watchmaker, Andreas Bauer

Ginger snaps, also called ginger biscuits, are a type of cookie. The name comes from the fact that these cookies are traditionally very crispy and make a snapping sound when eaten. Ginger snaps are a derivation of gingerbread and were invented hundreds of years ago. People in colonial times enjoyed these cookies, both in European countries and in America.

Ginger snaps have a long history in both England and Germany. The cookies were made using molasses as a sweetener rather than refined sugar because it was less expensive. As England expanded its colonial rule, it brought many of its cooking and baking traditions to these colonized countries. European settlers in the American colonies continued baking ginger snaps, bringing the necessary ingredients, including preserved and powdered ginger, with them.
Recipes that had been passed down, such the traditional molasses and ginger recipe for ginger snaps, continued to be used. Ginger snaps are commonly baked around the holidays, as is gingerbread. The spiciness of the ginger and the richness of the molasses pairs well with tea or coffee. Which now leads me to why two different recipes are posted.
It all started with this wonderful tray of gingersnaps cookies I had at a recent dinner party. Not only were they artistically arranged but were flavorful and crisp just the way I like them. When I went to bake gingersnap cookies last week (field testing for the food column The Seasonal Plate) the baker of these marvelous cookies was out of town so I was unable to get recipe. 
This cookie recipe below was adapted from BHG October 2013 magazine. While the gingersnap cookies tasted just fine it was a soft cookie and not quite the crisp texture I had been hoping for. 

Old-Fashioned Gingersnaps
recipe makes 2 dozen
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup butter melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup dark molasses(not blackstrap)
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar firmly packed
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 1/2 cup coarse sugar for rolling dough balls
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside
  • In a bowl whisk flour, baking soda, spices and salt-set aside 
  • In another bowl whisk butter, molasses, sugars and egg
  • Beat at a low speed and add in flour mixture, stir to combine  
  • Cover and chill dough in freezer one hour
  • Place coarse sugar in a bowl
  • Scoop out balls of dough about 1-1/2 inches and then roll balls in sugar, place on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart-do not flatten dough balls
  • Bake 11- 12 minutes until edges are crisp and centers are still chewy
  • Switch to another baking sheet for second batch
  • Cool on a wire rack
Now why this became a gingersnap cookie showdown was a week later I was fortunate to get the recipe I wanted in the first place. So I baked another batch (lucky I have neighbors who are more than willing to try my recipes). Here is gingersnap cookie recipe #2 from my friend Thomas who loves to bake.
Joan's Old-Fashioned Gingersnaps
recipe makes 2 dozen
Cook's notes: The ingredients are quite similar between the two recipes but the biggest changes were in oven temperature and flattening the rolled dough balls with bottom of a glass before baking in this recipe.
makes 24 cookies
  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup dark molasses
  • 2-1/4 cups of flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ginger
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves 
  • pinch(dash) nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup coarse sugar for rolling dough balls
  • Preheat oven to 375
  • In a bowl add flour, soda and spices
  • In another bowl beat butter, brown sugar, egg and molasses
  • Combine both mixtures and blend well
  • Cover and chill in freezer for an hour
  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper 
  • Roll dough into 1-1/2 inch balls and then roll balls in sugar
  • Place on cookie sheet, flour bottom of a glass and slightly flatten each dough ball with glass bottom
  • Sprinkle each cookie with a little more sugar
  • Bake cookies about 9-10 minutes
  • Cool cookies on a wire rack
Tasting results: I can say with certainty both recipes are highly addictive! It all depends on your personal preference soft or crisp for your gingersnap cookie fix. 

1 comment:

  1. Do you have a link to The Seasonal Plate?