I make a lot of cookies, but that doesn’t mean I’ve made every kind of cookie. One kind of cookie I enjoy is Ginger Snaps, but I’ve never really made them before. My partner’s mom makes a good set and usually sends us some for Christmas, but this year she didn’t. Rather than be disappointed, I made it an opportunity! Why not ask for the recipe and make them myself? She, of course, happily provided the recipe for me to use.
One thing I noticed right away about the recipe is white sugar. Usually, for many of my cookie recipes, I prefer using a brown sugar. I find it gives them a richer flavor and keeps them moister for longer. But, I didn’t want to blindly modify the recipe. So, what to do? I just made both!
So, here we have a comparison.
Brown sugar on the left, white sugar on the right. So, what are the differences?
- They’re both pretty much the same in terms of moisture and texture.
- The brown sugar cookies are a little thicker and didn’t spread as much as the white sugar cookies.
- The flavor is very different. White sugar is a pleasant, pungent ginger flavor. Brown sugar makes them more intensely molasses flavored, to their detriment in my opinion.
So, that’s my verdict. They’re both tasty, but the brown sugar version tastes more like wanna-be molasses cookies with a bit of bite instead of ginger snaps, and I want ginger snaps. So, white sugar it is, at least for me. You, of course, can feel free to pick whichever one you prefer!
There are two interesting quirks of this recipe. The first is when you’re rolling out your balls of dough. You want them to be somewhat crackly, otherwise you won’t get the nice cracks on the finished cookies. Look for something like this.
Secondly, when the cookies are done backing but still hot and soft, you have the fun part! With the cookies still on the baking sheet, pick up the sheet and lift it about ten or so inches over the counter. Then… drop it! Carefully and flatly, of course. The impact flattens the cookies, spreads them out, and widens the cracks for their characteristic appearance. Plus, who doesn’t like adding “drop it” to their recipes?
Speaking of recipe, here it is!
Soft Ginger Snap Cookies
- Cookie Sheets
- Parchment Paper
- Cookie Scoop
- Cooling Rack
- Stand Mixer
- 2 Cups Flour
- 1 Cup Sugar White or Brown (see post for details.)
- ¾ Cup Shortening
- ¼ Cup Molasses
- 2 Tsp Baking Soda
- 1-2 Tsp Ground Ginger 2 if you like spicier cookies, 1 if not.
- 1½ Tsp Cinnamon
- ¾ Tsp Ground Cloves
- 1 Egg
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, gloves, and ginger. Set this aside.
- In your stand mixer's mixing bowl, blend together the shortening, sugar, egg, and molasses.
- Gradually add in the dry ingredients, mixing well along the way.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for two hours minimum. More is fine if you prefer.
- When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350°F. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Using a cookie scoop or small spoon, gather small bits of dough and form into balls in your hands. Don't pack it smooth; some cracks are fine and good.
- Position the dough balls a few inches apart on your baking sheet. Bake for anywhere from 8-12 minutes. 8 minutes leaves your cookies chewier; longer baking time makes them crispier and gives them a "snap" when you break them.
- Remove the cookies from the oven and, while still hot, drop the baking sheet from a height of about 10 inches. This impact will further flatten the cookies and give them their characteristic look (plus it's fun!)
- Let the cookies sit for another few minutes to cool, then transfer them to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Whenever you want, enjoy!