Ginger Sparkles {aka Gingersnaps}

by Rachel Gurk on December 5, 2011 · 54 comments

in Cookies & Bars, Desserts

These cookies bring back such memories for me. Some people might call them gingersnaps, but we’re going to stick with ginger sparkles. Because they sparkle. And who doesn’t need a little sparkle in their life?

But I never really liked them as I was growing up.  Perhaps that is part of the memory. As my tastes have matured, I’ve grown to really enjoy these flavorful ginger cookies.

My mom has made them for years–every year, as long as I can remember.  My aunt could live on them. I think she’d be perfectly happy if they were her only gift every year–for every occasion.

I remember it was always my sister’s job in the kitchen to roll these out and coat them in sugar.

I’m not sure what I was doing, maybe eating? No! Well…okay…yes, but also I always made chocolate peanut butter cups (not fancy peanut butter filled ones, the peanut butter was mixed up with the chocolate) with all sorts of yummy things stirred in them. I was the little sis–her job was far more important. We didn’t want to give Aunt Mary oddly shaped ginger sparkles! Although–I’m not sure she would have minded.

Looks like E and I will be starting a new tradition of her trying to throw my bowl of sugar on the carpet while I attempt to photograph it. I can’t wait until she is old enough to make Christmas cookies (and everything else) with me. I hope she loves to cook and bake as much as I do.

Another reason I enjoy making these cookies is because it reminds me of our honeymoon in Jamaica. Not because we ate them there, but because of the molasses. Did you know molasses comes from sugarcane? While we were in Jamaica we visited a rum distillery and tasted sugarcane in all of its many forms, including molasses. It was so interesting to learn not only how rum was made but also about molasses.

Ginger Sparkles

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cups shortening
1 cup white granulated sugar + extra for rolling
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses

1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Mix dry ingredients.
2. In a separate bowl, cream shortening and sugar together. Beat in eggs and molasses.
3. Sift in dry ingredients.
4. Form into small balls. (My mom’s notes say “marble-sized,” but make sure you’re thinking of the big marbles, unless you want bite-sized ginger sparkles. Which would be fun too!
5. Roll balls in sugar and place ~2″ apart on cookie sheet.
6. Bake for 10 minutes.

Note: If you like crisper cookies, bake for one or two minutes longer and/or roll them smaller. I like them a little chewy, while my mom prefers them crispy.

Verdict: Honestly, these are winners. Look at them! I didn’t even use a cookie scoop and they still look beautiful (in my own very humble opinion).
Husband’s take: I’ll get back to you on that one.
Changes I would make: Nada.
Difficulty: Easy. You don’t even have to soften butter.

Do you have any cookie making memories? What is your favorite Christmas cookie to make? Which one is your favorite to eat?

{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kathryn December 5, 2011 at 6:06 am

Oh I love these. I never really made cookies for the holidays but it’s definitely a tradition I would want to have if I have children. These cookies look so wonderfully soft and delicious.

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2 Jessica / Green Skies and Sugar Trips December 5, 2011 at 6:30 am

These sound fantastic!

And wow a sugar cane tasting sounds so cool. Wow what an experience!! :-)

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3 thelittleloaf December 5, 2011 at 6:53 am

These look absolutely gorgeous. I love ginger biscuits and the cracks on yours are just perfect. Delicious for Christmas, but I’d be happy eating these all year round :-)

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4 Julie @ Table for Two December 5, 2011 at 7:29 am

You had me at the first picture. I want to make these asap. I love how yours turned out so perfect looking with the cracks and they look like the perfect size. I’m such a sucker for gingersnaps. I’ve never made them before myself, though, so I will try this sometime soon :)

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5 Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga December 5, 2011 at 7:55 am

I love CHEWY ginger and molasses cookies and these look so good.

And about that trip to the Jamaican rum distillery…can I come with next time?

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6 Rachel December 5, 2011 at 10:24 am

Sure–as long as it isn’t our honeymoon, you’re more than welcome to tag along :)

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7 Rachel @ Baked by Rachel December 5, 2011 at 9:08 am

love love love!! seriously! :) I buy gingersnaps at the store all of the time and have made chewy molasses cookies but never crispy gingersnaps! I must try this.

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8 Vicki Bensinger December 5, 2011 at 9:20 am

I’ve been making oodles of gingerbread cookies lately to teach gingerbread house making and decorating but I’ve never made gingersnaps. With all the ingredients on hand I am definitely going to make a batch. I love the flavor and the aroma that it sends through the house is so soothing – it smells like the holidays.

Thanks for sharing and Happy Holidays to you and your family!

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9 amanda @ fake ginger December 5, 2011 at 9:21 am

These look fantastic! I hate store-bought gingersnaps but I bet these are tender and delicious. Going on my Christmas baking list! :)

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10 Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen December 5, 2011 at 10:03 am

Stumbled and pinned. Holy heck!

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11 megan @ whatmegansmaking December 5, 2011 at 10:14 am

beautiful pictures! Your cookies turned out beautifully :) I love gingersnaps in all forms. :)

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12 easyfoodsmith December 5, 2011 at 10:16 am

Absolutely gorgeous looking Ginger Sparkles (Love their name). Got to try these…definitely. Buzzed!

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13 Rachel December 5, 2011 at 10:23 am

Thank you so much!

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14 Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray December 5, 2011 at 10:39 am

These turned out beautiful! I love how yours crackled on the top just like all those professional ones are supposed to. ;)

I’m sure that lil E will be demanding to stir batter and shape cookie dough balls before you know it!

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15 Kitchen Belleicious December 5, 2011 at 10:55 am

Your gingercookies put mine to shame! Wow they look
Incredible. Perfectly chewy yet with a hint if crispiness around the edges!

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16 Deborah December 5, 2011 at 11:10 am

I’ve never made gingersnaps at home, but I need to remedy that asap after seeing these!

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17 Cassie December 5, 2011 at 1:19 pm

I love gingersnaps and have been seeing lots of great recipes lately. I love that close up photograph!

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18 Sue December 5, 2011 at 2:33 pm

My husband’s mom actually made “Ginger Sparkles” (That’s what they called them too!)when we dated, which I thought was cute since their last name(and mine too:))is Sparks. He made them for me when we dated~LONG ago!
Your cookies are the picture of perfection~the shape, the texture, and I’m sure the taste!

Your little girl is adorable!

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19 Rachel December 5, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Love that story, thanks for sharing! :)

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20 Sally @ Spontaneous Hausfrau December 5, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Your cookies turned out so pretty and round! I like the name “Ginger Sparkles” – they sound magical that way. If only they really were magical – magical in the way of having no calories :)

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21 Rachel December 5, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Wouldn’t that be something :)

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22 sweet road December 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm

I’m so glad I found your blog… these cookies look perfect for wintertime and the photos are so beautiful!

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23 Rachel December 6, 2011 at 8:16 am

I’m so glad you found my blog too! Thanks! :)

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24 Geni December 5, 2011 at 4:27 pm

These are one of my very favorite holiday cookies and you certainly did them proud! They do sparkle and they are just the yummiest. So glad we got an adorable pic of your girl!

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25 Jessica @ How Sweet December 5, 2011 at 4:33 pm

These cookies are so perfect!

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26 candace December 5, 2011 at 5:46 pm

i saw the picture of these and knew i had to make them immediately. i had all the ingredients on hand so i went for it. they haven’t even cooled yet and the last batch is still in the oven and i have already eaten 3! thanks for a definite keeper recipe.

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27 Rachel December 6, 2011 at 8:00 am

Ahhh! I LOVE it! Thanks for letting me know, so glad you liked them :):):)

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28 Christina @ This Woman Cooks! December 5, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Beautiful cookies Rachel! I love that pic of E. :)

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29 Claire @ Claire K Creations December 5, 2011 at 6:29 pm

I think ginger sparkles sounds much better than ginger snaps. I made a similar cookie last week and have been nibbling away on them. I call it ‘Christmas present research.’

Your little girl is gorgeous and I bet she’ll love baking as much as her mum!

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30 Rachel December 6, 2011 at 8:03 am

Thanks! I put them in the freezer, but I think I’m going to go grab one now to have w/ my coffee!

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31 Jennifer @ Mother Thyme December 5, 2011 at 8:29 pm

I wish I had one of these delicious cookies in my hands right now! Perfect with a cold glass of milk. Like you, I can’t wait until my twins are old enough to cook with me. I’m hoping in another year or two they’ll be in the kitchen with me being mommy’s little helpers. :)

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32 Rachel December 6, 2011 at 8:03 am

God bless you for having twins. I cannot even imagine! You must be so exhausted when the day ends! How old are they?

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33 Jennifer @ Mother Thyme December 6, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Thank you! They definitely keep me busy. They are almost 17 months so they are all over the place right now. They are so funny together and they are at that stage where they babble to one another, its hilarious.

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34 Katie December 5, 2011 at 11:09 pm

I’m in crazy cookie heaven. Gingersnaps are by far my favorite cookie… they are so CHEWY and moist and filled with so much flavor. They really should be called little balls of cookie fury. Do these babies flatten when they are baking or do you need to form them their shape?

Katie at http://www.ohshineon.com

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35 Rachel December 6, 2011 at 8:02 am

They flatten as they bake! It is like a little miracle :)

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36 Leslie Means @ Her View From Home December 6, 2011 at 11:38 am

LOVE the pictures! Especially the one with your sweet little girl. It’s so much fun to have my girls in the kitchen with me. But I do have to remember to “let go of the mess” because it happens – A LOT – with two kids under the age of 3! :)

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37 Brooke (Baking with Basil) December 6, 2011 at 3:15 pm

I’m with you on the grown-up matured liking of gingersnap cookies. I love them now! Especially ones that sparkle as pretty as yours!

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38 The Elegant Eggplant December 6, 2011 at 3:19 pm

I loooove gingersnaps! And yours are so cute and sparkly :)

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39 Bridget @ Cooking with the big dogs December 6, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Boy am I glad I stumbled onto your blog post – I’ve been looking for a recipe for chewy gingersnaps for a couple years and never found anything close to what I wanted to make. I can’t wait to make these cookies!

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40 Rachel December 7, 2011 at 7:14 am

Awesome! Let me know what you think of them :) Hope you love them!

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41 Tracey December 6, 2011 at 8:13 pm

I’ve only recently come to appreciate gingersnaps too! Yours look absolutely perfect :)

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42 Nutmeg Nanny December 6, 2011 at 8:58 pm

These look awesome! Love that you named them ginger sparkles….I do need some sparkle in my life! :)

My favorite cookies growing up was my stepmoms gum drop cookies…yum!

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43 Asmita December 7, 2011 at 3:49 pm

I would love to make these cookies, they look fantastic!

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44 Dina December 7, 2011 at 6:58 pm

those are perfect-looking ginger cookies!

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45 Rachel December 7, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Thank you—they are perfect tasting too, in my own opinion ;)

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46 Colleen December 8, 2011 at 9:49 am

Love those gingersnaps! I still like to keep the tradition going and try to make them every year (if I’m able) ;) Looks like you filled in for me this year!! Now I really am craving one.

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47 Christine December 9, 2011 at 1:07 am

Hey Rachel, your Sparkle is a Recipe Guessing Game on Knapkins. Think your friends can win?
http://www.knapkins.com/guess_games/1023?source=blog

Show your foodie love and vote here http://www.knapkins.com/duel?dish=15428

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48 shelly (cookies and cups) December 15, 2011 at 8:10 am

Those cookies look absolutely perfect!! I am kinda jealous!

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49 Rachel December 15, 2011 at 8:14 am

Thanks Shelly! You’re going to make me blush–that’s quite a compliment coming from you!

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50 Tracy @ Babies Love Baked Goods December 23, 2011 at 8:20 pm

My favorite Christmas cookie is the PB Blossom. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE them. I also really like these candy cane ones my mom makes. I’ve never tried to make them, but she says it’s a pain. She makes them for me anyway.

I like to make any kind of cookie, really. Except maybe Spritz. They taste great, but it usually takes me 2-3 pans to remember how to really work the cookie press, and by then the dough is almost gone anyway. :(

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51 Rachel December 24, 2011 at 10:59 am

I’ve never personally made spritz cookies, but they are so pretty! Merry Christmas!

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52 lyn November 30, 2012 at 11:59 am

hi there – came across these and they look fab. how many does a batch make? thinking of making them for my son’s class christmas morning at school.
thanks

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53 Rachel November 30, 2012 at 1:32 pm

I don’t remember exactly, but it is a pretty big batch. Depending on the size of the cookie, I’d say 3-4 dozen.

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