Crispy, chewy, perfectly perfect gingersnaps are a must at Christmas, but to be honest, we recommend eating them year-round! This is the best recipe for gingersnap cookies!
These cookies bring back such memories for me. They’re most well-known as gingersnaps but we’ve always called them ginger sparkles. Because they sparkle! And who doesn’t need a little sparkle in their life?
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.
Here’s a fun confession: I never really liked them as I was growing up. Just maybe I was a picky eater. As my tastes have matured, I’ve grown to really enjoy these flavorful ginger cookies.
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.
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 molasses.
What Is Molasses?
Molasses comes from sugarcane. It’s extracted from the sugarcane in the process of refining sugarcane into sugar. Long story short, the juice is extracted from the sugarcane and then boiled until it is thick and dark brown. If you’re interested in the process, you can read more here.
About these gingersnaps
These gingersnaps are so perfectly chewy and crispy, just as a gingersnap should be, full of sweet snappy flavor!
I remember it was always my sister’s job in the kitchen to roll the cookie dough into balls and coat them in sugar.
I’m not sure what I was doing, maybe eating? Noooo, well, okay, yes, but also it was my job to make chocolate peanut butter candies (with just two ingredients, along with all sorts of yummy things stirred into them).
I was the little sis and her job was far more important. We didn’t want to give Aunt Mary oddly shaped ginger sparkles! (Although I’m sure she wouldn’t 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.
These gingersnap cookies are full of flavor thanks to lots of ginger, cinnamon, and molasses. They’re easy to make and freeze well.
I’ll run through the recipe here to get you started. As always, you’ll find the printable recipe card near the bottom of the post with measurements, instructions, and nutrition information.
What You’ll Need
- All Purpose Flour: Just plain ol’ regular flour. Make sure you spoon it lightly into the measuring cup so it isn’t packed down. Always use a measuring cup intended for dry ingredients.
- Shortening: We’ve tested these with butter and they just don’t turn out as well. You can find shortening in the baking aisle of the grocery store. Crisco is a name brand.
- Sugar: Use granulated white sugar, nothing fancy here. The cookies are rolled in sugar, too, before baking.
- Baking Soda, Salt: Normal cookie ingredients.
- Egg: An egg helps bind the cookie dough together.
- Ground Ginger and Ground Cinnamon: A whole tablespoon of ginger adds lots of zippy flavor and cinnamon softens it a bit.
- Molasses: There are a few different types of molasses. Some are very dark brown and some are lighter in color. The dark brown types have a deeper flavor and will turn your cookies a darker color. For these cookies, I usually use a lighter molasses but it’s totally up to you.
How To Make These Cookies
This is a pretty basic cookie recipe. One of the things I like about it is that the dough doesn’t have to be chilled. You can chill it if you like but it isn’t a necessity.
Begin by creaming together the shortening and sugar; then add the egg and molasses.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add them to the shortening mixture and mix just until blended.
Form the dough into balls and roll the balls in sugar to make them sparkle! You can freeze them at this point, or you can freeze them once they’re baked.
Oh, and don’t worry if the balls aren’t perfectly round. Really, they always turn out round once they are baked.
Bake the cookies until they are crackled on top and crisp around the edges. They’ll be very lightly browned on the bottom. If you like crisper cookies, cook them an extra minute or so.
Gingersnaps are usually crisper with the trademark crackles. Gingerbread is a bit softer and more chewy. Gingerbread dough is usually rolled out, cut into shapes, baked, and decorated with icing.
Molasses cookies are softer and chewier than gingersnaps. They just don’t have the “snap”! Molasses cookie recipes are often made with brown sugar and contain a bit more molasses than gingersnaps.
Gingersnaps freeze really well. This sturdy cookie stays fresh for a surprisingly long time, both on the counter or in the freezer, as long as it’s stored in an airtight container.
If you prefer, the dough can be frozen instead. Keep reading for the how-to’s.
Make It Your Own
- Try adding finely minced candied ginger for an extra ginger kick!
- We think they’re perfect as is, but have fun adjusting the spices: Add a little extra cinnamon, sprinkle in some cloves or nutmeg, whatever makes you happy!
- Dip them in melted white chocolate. Because why not?
- Speaking of white chocolate, we love these glammed up gingersnaps with white chocolate and cranberries!
Baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container once they are completely cooled. They’ll stay fresh at room temperature for at least a week and in the freezer for up to a month.
I prefer to freeze the cookies already baked because it takes some of the stress out of the holiday season to get your baking done ahead of time. If you prefer freshly baked cookies, freeze the individual dough balls on a tray until firm, then put them into an airtight container.
When you’re ready to bake, simply place the frozen balls on a baking sheet and bake as directed, adding a minute or two to the baking time.
More Christmas Cookies
- Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies
- Andes Mint Cookies
- Mexican Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
- Double Cinnamon Crinkle Cookies
- Brigadeiros (Brazilian Fudge Balls)
- Chocolate Peppermint Kiss Cookies
- Windmill Cookies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup shortening
- 1 cup white granulated sugar + extra for rolling
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup molasses
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Whisk together dry ingredients (flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt) in a medium bowl.
- In a separate large bowl, cream shortening and sugar together. Beat in eggs and molasses. Add dry ingredients and mix just until blended.
- Form dough into small balls, about 1-inch in diameter. Roll balls in sugar and place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until crispy around edges (see note). Cool briefly on baking sheet, then remove to wire rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container.
- For crispier gingersnaps, bake 1-2 minutes longer.
- Yield depends on how large you make your cookies.
- Gingersnaps keep well either on the counter or in the freezer. They can be frozen up to one month (or more!) as long as they are wrapped tightly in an airtight container.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
Do you have any cookie making memories? What is your favorite Christmas cookie to make? Which one is your favorite to eat?