ooh, (ginger)snap!
April 17, 2006 1:22 PM   Subscribe

Do you have the perfect gingersnap recipe?

In my mind, the Platonic-ideal gingersnap is a lot like the Ginger Nuts I lived on while studying in Scotland (more than ten years ago now, ye gods)...very crisp, and so spicy they leave you with a gingery burning aftertaste. Now, I know you can find actual Ginger Nuts stateside at Cost Plus, but they don't have the spiciness I remember. And I'd rather make them myself anyway.

However! My go-to baking book, the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion, is utterly failing me on this, and I'm not sure why. Using so-called "full flavor" molasses made cookies so dark and dense they didn't crisp up (or reflect light) properly, while the lighter/"mild" molasses made them crunchy, but incredibly bland. Upping the amount of spices--even adding a pinch of mace!--didn't seem to do much, either. Am I hallucinating this perfect gingersnap? AskMe, you're my only hope!
posted by Vervain to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I had a craving for ginger snaps a year or so ago. I think this is the recipe I used. Don't use a hand mixer, mine burned out trying to mix the thick batter, but not before flinging bits of uncooked batter around the kitchen. I was still finding bits of batter a year later when I'd move appliances.
posted by substrate at 1:55 PM on April 17, 2006

Mom's Ginger Cookies

¾ cup + 2 Tbsp Crisco
1 cup white sugar (or ½ white ½ dark brown)
1 large egg
¼ cup + 1 Tbsp unsulphered molasses
2 cup flour
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp cloves
1 ½ tsp ginger ( or a lot more)
1 ¼ tsp salt
1 Tbsp (mom uses 2 tsp) baking soda

Roll dough into logs wrapped in wax paper and refrigerate. Cut ¼ inch thick, dip in sugar on top side and bake at 375 F for 8 min.

(Use all white sugar for crunchier cookies.)
posted by caddis at 2:12 PM on April 17, 2006

I've had reasonable success with the Gingersnap recipe from the old (13th ed) of Joy of Cooking. The texture and color are great, but I'm still working on the snappiness. The flavor isn't quite as biting as you reference (adding pepper (red or black), more ginger, and maybe more cloves might help with that), but everyone who's tried these has liked them (including the guy who said he doesn't usually like gingersnaps).

That's the recipe that substrate linked to, so I'm not going to type it in for you. :)

The recipe says to bake at 325 for 12 minutes, but that tends to give chewy ginger cookies,which are very good, but not gingersnaps. Putting them in at 375 for 9-10 minutes helps, but I still have to perfect that part.
The last time I made these I used 1/2 teaspoon of 5-spice powder instead of the cinnamon. They were really good that way.
posted by jlkr at 2:13 PM on April 17, 2006

you may want to consider, if the burny-mouth feeling is the one you're going for, to try curry snaps instead. I'll try to scare up the recipe later, but I found they had a pepperly zing to them while being essentially ginger snaps with a slightly different (and imho improved) taste.
posted by jessamyn at 2:23 PM on April 17, 2006

Also, consider freezing your ginger and thawing it before you use it -- this tends to enhance the ginger-spiciness.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 3:33 PM on April 17, 2006

Trader Joe's makes Triple Ginger Snaps. They're tiny little cookies that are moderately gingery and snappy, and crunchy. Then you get to the big wodges of ginger -- and that's about when your eyes start to water. You said you've tried upping the spices' quantity, but have you tried upping their quality, too? I think crystallized ginger is what Trader Joe's uses to great effect, but fresh ginger is also one of the ingredients (as is the more common ground ginger).
posted by booksandlibretti at 4:02 PM on April 17, 2006

Ginger thins (as with this Swedish recipe) are crisper and spicier than the standard British gingersnap. That recipe includes cloves, which will definitely add a kick to go with the ginger. You won't get the texture of the classic gingersnap (when dunked in tea, soft on the outside and still al dente inside) but you'll get the burn.

The trick for thicker ginger snaps is not to make cookies: use a less moist mixture and let them cool.
posted by holgate at 4:28 PM on April 17, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. I think I know what I'm going to be doing for the next week or two! The Joy of Cooking recipe intrigues me, as I've inherited a WWII-era edition, and it's always an adventure trying to finesse the recipes so they work in my kitchen. The crystallized ginger is a great idea, too--I'd been using the ground stuff, and I'm not even sure how old it is. Some foodie I am...

(And jessamyn, if you do get the chance to post/link to the curry snaps recipe, I'd be thrilled. They sound really good.)
posted by Vervain at 10:40 PM on April 17, 2006

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