I have a special recipe for you today.
These cookies are the epitome of “Christmas” for me. My family has made them every year for as long as I can remember…and with good reason.
My maternal great-grandmother first made these, and the recipe has since been passed down to three more generations. These ginger snaps are spicy and sweet with the most incredible texture. They are chewy on the inside, and the sugar crust on the outside gives them a great crunch. They are the best. It isn’t Christmas unless we have a batch of these ready to go.
These cookies conjur up many memories for me. My sisters and I would fight over who got to roll the dough in the sugar…EVERY.SINGLE.TIME…like, even when we were grown-ass adults! My mom always sampled the raw dough unapologetically…and several baked cookies shortly there after, too! My dad, who swears he doesn’t eat sweets, could not resist a plate of these after Christmas dinner. When I bite into one of these now, all these memories come rushing back. Good stuff.
Because this is such an old-school recipe, you will see ingredients like shortening and blackstrap molasses. Trust me, you do not want to stray from the recipe AT ALL. I tried making these with butter and it was a horrible fail. Same outcome with regular molasses. I’m not sure what it is about those particular ingredients that makes them so necessary, but they just are. I’m not a master baker, but I have learned by trial and error that you don’t want to mess with the original recipe. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
So, from my family to yours, enjoy these special holiday cookies this season. Maybe they’ll make it into your annual rotation and you can start developing new memories with your family.
Dibs on rolling the dough in sugar! No. Seriously.
Soft & Chewy Ginger Snaps (makes 3 dozen)
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
¾ cup shortening
2¼ cup flour (add more if dough is too sticky to roll)
2 teaspoons baking soda, dissolved in a little hot water
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Additional sugar, for coating the cookies (about 1 cup)
1. Combine sugar, molasses, and shortening until smooth in a large bowl. Whisk in the egg and dissolved baking soda.
2. Combine the flour, spices, and salt in another bowl. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients.
3. Place the additional sugar in a shallow bowl. Roll the dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter and roll to coat in sugar.
4. Place the coated cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 375°F for 7-8 minutes. The cookies should look puffy and undercooked when removed from oven. As they cool, they will harden and crack slightly.