The recipe I use for these cookies calls them "ginger snaps" -- but they aren't really "snaps." They are soft, chewy, deliciousness. They are ginger cookies masquerading as snaps.
Gingerbread originated from Armenia -- it was brought to Europe in the 900s. Yes, the 900s! From there, the product evolved. Eventually, Germans brought the product to Sweden in the 1300s and nuns began baking gingerbread in monasteries to help with digestion (this is evidence in the 1400 and 1500s). Gingerbread cookies started to be sold in the 15th century. Everyday people didn't start baking gingerbread and ginger cookies themselves until ginger became widely available in shops in the late 1600s. Ginger-based cookies broke off from gingerbread at an unknown date, although probably around the 1700 and 1900s -- ginger snaps (or nuts!) and ginger drop cookies became increasingly popular. In short: gingerbread and all its delicious baking variants have been around for a long time. And so far, these are the best ginger-based cookie I've ever eaten*.
*Except for maybe the ginger-chocolate cookies I make in the winter. Although those are traditional, crispy gingerbread cookies.
I've been making these cookies a few times a month to take into work -- because they are my boss's absolute favorite. And they're my favorite too. They're also pretty quick to make, even though you have to roll each one in sugar (honestly, how can that be bad!?)
- 1 cup of sugar, plus 1/2 cup for dusting
- 1/2 cup of butter
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon of cloves (I like a lot of cloves)
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 1/2 cups flour
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and greased two cookie sheets.
In a bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add egg and mix well. Add molasses and vanilla. Add baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Add flour in batches. The dough will be pretty dry, but still kind of stick.
Put the 1/2 cup of reserved sugar in a bowl (or on a plate with a lip). Use a tablespoon to measure out dough, roll into a ball, roll in sugar, and place on greased cookie sheet. Place dough about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes and allow to cool on the pan.
And... enjoy! These cookies should be good for a week or two in a sealed container. But, I won't lie, they will get eaten long before they get the chance to even think about going bad.