As the boy and I were strolling through Whole Foods last week, he snatched a small bag of Ginger Snaps off the shelf and tossed them into our cart. I rarely buy store-bought cookies but happily paid for them along with our assortment of bulk food items.
It had been years since I'd tasted a Snap and I had completely forgotten how much I adore them. The tang of molasses... the spice from all of that ginger... The way they soak up milk but still stay crispy... Now that I think about it, Ginger Snaps may just be my favorite cookie.
I began to wonder why I had never bothered to make Ginger Snaps for myself. I went in search of the perfect recipe. What I found surprised me. According to a who's who of the culinary world, the best Ginger Snap recipe was in one of the cookbooks on my shelf, The Art of Simple Food, by Alice Waters.
I grabbed the book off my shelf on got to baking.
Believe me when I tell you that this recipe is well worth the effort. The cookies are perfectly crisp and wonderfully spicy. If you happen to prefer a little more snap in your Ginger Snap, you could easily increase the amount of ginger or add a little ground cardamon or black pepper.
2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
11 Tbs. (1 stick + 3 Tbs.) butter, at room temperature
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. molasses
Combine the dry ingredients and set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar until soft and fluffy. Add the vanilla, molasses and egg.
Add the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for two hours.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle the cookies with a little coarse sugar if desired.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. The cookies will be slightly soft once they first come out of the oven, but become nice and crisp as they cool.
Since making rolled cookies can be rather tedious, I decided to make a double batch which made a literal mountain of 1 1/2 inch cookies. If you want to avoid using a rolling pin, you could easily form the dough into logs, wrap them in plastic wrap to chill for several hours, and then slice them into 1/4 inch thick coins.
Give them a try. You won't be disappointed.