The holiday season is officially in full force! Can you believe that Christmas is now less than 3 weeks away?! Somehow it’s already the second week of December and I can sense the flurry of activity going on in the stores as the holiday quickly approaches. Flour and sugar are left empty on the grocery store shelves and everybody is pulling out their yearly, favorite cookie recipes. What are your favorite holiday cookies and desserts?
For me, I grew up on soft sugar cookies with icing dripping down the sides. Nothing pretty or perfect about them, but somehow they seemed to melt in my mouth with every bite. My mouth is watering just thinking about them.
You know what else makes my mouth water, though? These chewy gingersnap cookies…The Best Chewy Gingersnaps Yet, for that matter. :) I feel like all things ginger and gingerbread are the forgotten flavor around the holidays. Sure, peppermint normally gets all the attention, but I have a soft spot for the warmth and richness of gingersnaps. Every time I make up a batch of gingersnaps, it has me thinking of my aunt who doesn’t leave the flavor of ginger just to the holidays — she makes gingersnaps all year round. Can you see already why I love her so much?! When I lived close to my aunt and uncle during college, it was a safe bet there’d be a container of freshly made gingersnaps on her counter when I came for a visit.
While traditional gingersnaps are a little on the crispy side, I wanted to make a gingersnap cookie that was chewy and soft — everything I expect in a cookie (hence, the soft sugar cookie as my favorite cookie growing up). As the title implies, these gingersnap cookies are soft on the inside and out. And I can guarantee, you’ll be reaching for a second (or third) after trying one. I mean, how can you resist their cute, crinkly tops glistening with sugar?!
To add a little somethin’ – somethin’ to a traditional cookie, the butter is browned ahead of time, a shortcut that takes the cookie to a whole new level of complexity and nuttiness. You can brown butter for almost any dish or baked good. Of course, if the holidays are getting the best of you and you don’t want to go to the little bit of extra work, normal softened butter will do in a pinch. Although, if you want to raise the ante on your next cookie exchange, it’s well worth it.
In addition to the butter, these gingersnaps add a little pop of sweetness to the spice with a pinch or two of orange zest. Not enough to be overly orange flavored — you can hardly detect it actually — but enough to make these cookies a favorite for years to come. Again, no orange zest? Don’t fret, the cookies will still be delicious without.
Now, go turn on that Christmas music, put on your favorite apron, and get in the baking spirit!
The Best Chewy Gingersnaps Yet
- 2 2/3 cup flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, browned and brought back to room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 brown sugar, packed
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup mild molasses
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
- Extra sugar for tops of cookies
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
- To brown the butter, place the butter in a small sauté pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the butter has completely melted and has an amber/light brown shade, about 15 minutes. Once it’s reached this stage, remove the pan from heat quickly as brown butter can become burnt before you knew what happened. Scrape butter and any brown bits into a small bowl and store in the fridge to harden (this can be a day or two in advance). Allow butter to come back to room temperature when ready to make the cookies.
- Add the softened (but not liquid) butter and sugars to a stand mixer or large bowl and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the molasses and orange zest and beat until combined. Turn the mixer speed to low and slowly add the mixture of dry ingredients, beating just until combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour (or up to one day).
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Roll the dough into one-inch balls, dip the tops in sugar, and arrange on the baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart (they will spread just slightly). Lightly press down on the center of each cookie. Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until puffed and just lightly golden.
- Remove pan from oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Adapted slightly from Baker by Nature