If you’re looking for something homemade this weekend but are ready to give elaborate cooking a rest, here’s a treat, Sadie’s Gingersnaps. The eponymous Sadie is the grandmother of our great friend and traveling companion, Bette Ann (BA) Harris. Several weeks ago BA arrived for dinner at our house with a plastic bag of these oversize ginger snaps. Score! There’s an embargo on our house for cookies, unless we make them ourselves. It ensures quality control and minimizes temptation. You can have a treat… as long as you make it yourself. We do, however, issue culinary visas to all friends bearing baked goods. After all, how often do friends show up at your door with homemade cookies? These were definitely worth the wait.
The cookies are easy, have a real ginger flavor, and go great at midnight with a glass of milk. They have also become the rocket fuel of choice (with a double espresso) for propelling me through the four o’clock slump. Enjoy. Ken
LEFTOVERS NOTE: Don’t know what to do with all that turkey? Try our Turkey Soup with Baby Bok Choy and Rice Stick Noodles. Come to think of it, turkey soup with giant gingersnaps for dessert doesn’t sound bad at all.
- 1½ sticks unsalted butter + additional for greasing parchment paper
- 1 cup white sugar + additional for rolling
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- ¼ cup molasses (BA uses Grandma’s Original brand with a yellow label)
- 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 heaping teaspoon ground ginger (not fresh)
- ½ heaping teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 level teaspoons baking soda
- 1½ cups unbleached all purpose flour (BA uses King Arthur)
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced or minced candied ginger (this is an optional addition that I made with BA’s permission)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. If your oven has a convection option, use it.
- In a standing mixer, cream the butter and the cup sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the egg, then add molasses, spices, baking soda and salt. Beat well.
- Turn off the mixer and add the flour. Run the mixer on its lowest setting until the flour is just combined. You don’t want to develop the gluten too much.
- Transfer the dough to a small bowl, cover and chill about 10 – 20 minutes to make it easier to work with. You can refrigerate the dough for up to 36 hours, if necessary.
- Line 2 or 3 baking sheets with lightly greased parchment paper. You will make 5 – 6 sheets of cookies. I only have a few baking sheets, so I had to do them in batches.
- Cover the bottom of a shallow bowl with about ¼ inch of granulated sugar. Fill another bowl halfway with water for dipping your fingers.
- Roll dough into balls the size of a walnut (about a tablespoon of dough) and then roll each ball in the granulated sugar. Finish transforming all of the dough into sugared balls, ready to go on a plate or cutting board, before you start baking.
- Place 6 balls on a baking sheet at least 4 inches apart (they spread a lot). I found when I tried to fit 9 on a sheet, the cookies ran together. Dip your fingers in water and flatten the balls into disks about ¼-inch thick and about 2 inches in diameter – they’ll spread more when they bake. If you don’t want to use your fingers, you can flatten them using a glass.
- Sprinkle the raw cookies with candied ginger.
- “Bake until they are done – they should be dark.” (Those were Sadie’s instructions, which I love.) They take about 12 minutes, give or take a minute, depending on your oven.
- Let cool on the parchment sheet about 10 minutes before transferring to a rack.
‘Tis the seasons of gifts. Please take note of the beautiful handmade bowls and espresso cup in the photos. They were made by our talented friend Seb. I love the bowls so much I’ve adopted the French practice of using them for my morning cappuccino.
BA brought Sadie’s Gingersnaps to our house a few weeks before Christmas. It’s the kind of recipe you instantly add to your repertoire of favorites. I have a million cookbooks and access to a billion more on the internet, but there’s nothing like actually tasting a recipe to really know what it’s all about. This one is awesome and addictive. I asked BA if I could use it and tweak it. She was thrilled and said “Tweak away.” All I did was add candied ginger. I’ll make this one again and again, as I’m sure you will.
Thank you Seb, BA and Sadie.