I’m quite fond of the peppery crunch of a ginger snap. My family had a favorite regional brand. They came in an orange box and were sold in the deli section instead of the cookie section, because they were a seasonal item. The cookies were a little thicker than a wafer, pungent with ginger and just sweet enough to take the edge off the bite. They were so hard and crunchy you had to use the side teeth to break them.
That type of cookie isn’t available to me here in Spain, so I decided to make my own ginger snaps. This recipe from Saveur seemed to fit the bill, although I increased the amount of ginger and pepper used and made a couple little tweaks. I froze half the dough and baked the cookies in two batches. These aren’t super hard, like the ginger snaps I remember from my childhood, but they have a nice crunch. They’re great after dinner with a cup of tea.
Legend has it that if you place a ginger snap in the palm of your hand and press down on the center, you’ll have good luck if it breaks into three pieces. Fortunately, there’s no downside if your cookie breaks into two pieces or crumbles because I wasn’t able to get any of mine to break into three.
- 1½ cups dark brown sugar
- 3 sticks butter (12 ounces), softened
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
- zest of one lemon
- 3½ cups regular flour
- 2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ - 1 teaspoon ground pepper, black or white pepper is fine, use less if finely ground
- pinch ground cloves (I pounded 3 cloves in my mortar and pestle)
- more sugar to sprinkle on top (I used cane sugar)
- Cream the butter and brown sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg, the ginger and the lemon zest. Beat well.
- In a second bowl, measure the flour, baking powder and ground spices. Gradually add to the butter and eggs to make a dough.
- Turn the dough out onto the counter and pat into a disk, or a log if preferred. Wrap the disk with baking paper and foil, and let chill for a couple hours or overnight. At this point the dough can be divided and frozen for later if desired.
- To bake, preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Measure baking paper to fit your trays.
- Portion the dough and roll it into balls about 1" in diameter. Place a piece of baking paper over top of the ball, then press the ball into a thin round using a heavy flat bottomed cup.
- Sprinkle the rounds with a little sugar before baking for 8 - 10 minutes. Longer cooking time yields a crispier cookie.
- Cool on a rack.
My cookie scoop is medium sized, about 1 1/2 tablespoons when filled all the way. I didn’t jam it full of cookie dough and got a couple more than 6 dozen cookies that were mostly the same size. I tested the cooking times and found 9 minutes in our oven yielded a cookie with a nice crunch, but a little bit tender inside.
Aren’t the oranges pretty? Read more about them at Life Beyond the Kitchen.
This recipe is part of a Virtual Cookie Exchange hosted by a few of my blogging friends.