Old World Gingersnaps go back for centuries. Most likely invented by Medieval monks in Franconia Germany in 1296, Lebkuchen or Pfefferkuchen is a traditional cookie baked at Christmas time. Gingersnap cookies are a tradition in my home and baking them fills the house with the delicious scents of the Holiday Season.
In the Middle Ages, when spices from the far east reached Europe, ginger cookies, with all their exotic spices, were an outward sign of wealth and a special treat to be enjoyed during the holiday season. While the cookies are fantastic at any time of year, this special relationship with the holiday season continues to this day.
Not only does this recipe make fantastic cookies, but the cookies are an excellent base for a gingersnap crust.
Old World Gingersnap Cookies
- measuring cups and spoons
- stand mixer
- mixing bowls
- food scale
- cooling rack
- oven sheet pan
- cutting board
- ¾ lbs unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar, granulated/caster
- 2 large eggs, room temperature and beaten
- ½ cup unsulfured molasses
- 2 tsp vinegar, champagne or apple cider
- 3¾ cups bread flour (All Purpose flour can substitute)
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- 6 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground clove
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
Making the Ginger Cookie Dough
- Preheat oven to 325°F/165°C
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix in thoroughly. Add the molasses and vinegar and mix until incorporated.
- In a separate mixing bowl add the dry ingredients. By hand, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, ground cinnamon and ground cloves. When the dry mix is thoroughly combine. Gradually add it to the wet mix with the mixer on the lowest setting.
- Once all the ingredients are mixed, turn out the dough onto a very lightly floured surface and knead the cookie dough until it comes together.
- Roll portions of the dough into (1 oz./28 grams) balls and place the dough on a sheet pan fitted with nonstick parchment paper or Silpat.
- Using your thumb, make a small indentation into the cookie and place a small piece of crystalized ginger in the center. (If the dough falls apart, gently push it back together.) Be sure not to overcrowd the baking sheet.
- Leave about 1½-2" between the cookies since they will spread out when baked. Repeat until the sheet pan is full or all the cookie dough has been used.
- Bake the Gingersnap cookies for about 15 minutes. (Less if you wish softer cookies.) Remove from the oven and cool on a wire cooling rack. Dust them with powdered sugar (optional). Once the cookies are completely cooled, store in an airtight container or Ziplock.
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