Kim Boyce’s Chewy Gingersnaps, from home
I made these cookies just about a year ago. The timing was such that by the time I would’ve gotten around to posting them, Christmas would have already passed, and honestly who really wants to look at and talk about Christmas cookies when they’re not relevant anymore? I think sharing them would have bored me to tears, or just made me sad—similar to the feeling on Christmas morning when you were little and, after searching under the entire tree desperately, you realized all the presents were already open and you’d have to wait a whole other year for the excitement of of the holidays to return (oh, devestation).
I was on the hunt for my favorite chewy molasses ginger cookies for a good two years or so and I am pretty positive this is the recipe I will turn to until the end of time. I kind of grew up on the gingersnaps that are of the true snappy sort—the kind where, at least for me, a big glass of milk is a required accompangment to dip the cookies in. You know, the thin and sugary and crunchy sort. These are what my Mom loves and makes, always. But I’ve always loved the ones that were maybe crispy on the edge, but good and yielding and chewy in the middle. And these ones here are what I was looking for.
Now that I think about it, though, perhaps I just took these cookies out earlier than I was supposed to, so as they cooled they became soft and chewy rather than snappy and crispy. Does that mean I can still call them gingersnaps? Maybe I turned a classic gingersnap recipe into a butchured version just to satisfy my selfish soft-chewy cookie needs? In any case, to that I say: whatEVER! (I know it’s probably like tip #1 for bloggers to not use inside jokes on their blogs because, um obviously no one will get it besides the one person that understands it in real life who may happen to read your blog. But with that being said the “to that I say: whatever” is something I say a lot in real life, and it comes from this comic which is so so so funny and which you should all read right now instead of this blog.)
Anyway, back to cookies. They’re from Kim Boyce, and as expected, they feature some whole-wheat flour. This neither deterred me nor encouraged me towards trying the recipe—to me, it just came as part of the package. Linda of The Tart Tart recommended them to me and sent me the recipe (so nice!) and since we share same cookie preferences (soft, chewy), along with the fact that her two favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes happen to be identical to mine (this one and this one, by the way), I knew I should trust her taste.
Even though they have a bit of soft-chewiness to them, they’re still best with a glass of milk (or coffee or tea, I suppose, if you’re over 12 years old or something). I’m guessing the dough might also work for gingerbread cut-outs, if you wanted to do that sort of thing. The dough is a soft one though, so you might have to return it to the fridge a couple times while working with it to ensure that it stays pretty chilled and managable. But really, that type of thing takes more work and it honestly probably won’t taste as good. Plus, isn’t the sparkly white crystals of sugar, all crackly over the surface of the cookies, so pretty? They look and smell like Christmas to me, and I wish I had a batch of them right now here in Paris. Or preferably, back in the kitchen of my childhood home in Washington, where I’ve spent nearly every Christmas.
This year, my entire family (!) is coming to Paris for the holidays. We’re kind of all scattered all over the place now, so I think it made more sense to meet up in a new city than have everyone migrate home. Very practical, very grown-up of us, don’t you think? As much as I’m excited to show my family around (as well as the fact that I’m not going to be the one jet-lagged on Christmas day), I’m pretty homesick for the tastes and smells and traditions of Christmas back home. But we’ll see—maybe all I need to feel like home is to be with my family.
// Christmas Baking Ideas and Wishlists //
In case you are in need of some Christmas baking inspiration, may I recommend a few of my favorite recipes? Some holiday-appropriate ones that I’ve already posted about on this site include: Chocolate Crinkle Cookies (probably my personal favorite cookie), Raspberry-Almond Linzer Cookies, Nanaimo Bars, Homemade Thin Mints, Salted Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies, Ginger Slice, and Stout Gingerbread.
And here are some things I wish wish wish I were making right now: Fig & Date Swirl Cookies, via Lottie and Doof, Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread, the Spice Cookies from Jerusalem, Manger’s Chocolate Swirl Meringues and Dorie’s World Peace Cookies.
These are my favorite type of cookie—they’re deep and dark, and, if you take them out in time, they are soft and chewy as they cool from the oven but still retain cripsy-chewy edges. To get this sort of cookie, keep a close watch on the cookies as they cook, and plan to take them out at the 10-12 minute mark, when they still look slighly underdone. They will settle into chewiness as they cool. If you’re after the traditional gingersnaps that are crispy and crunchy, keep the cookies in the oven closer until the 15-minute mark, when the cookies look deeply golden and cooked through.
115 grams (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, melted and cooled slightly
100 grams (1/2 cup) dark brown sugar
100 grams (1/2 cup) white sugar
85 grams (1/4 cup) molasses
2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger from about a 2-1/2 inch piece
120 grams (1 cup) whole-wheat flour
125 grams (1 cup) all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp clove
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2ish cup sugar, in a small bowl
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, spices and salt. In a large bowl, mix together the butter, sugars, molasses, fresh ginger, and egg. Sprinkle the dry flour mixture over the wet ingredients, and stir to form a batter. It will be a soft dough. Scrape out onto a big sheet of plastic wrap, wrap up tightly, and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours or, preferably, overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Unwrap the chilled dough, and “pluck” out balls that are about one tablespoon in size. Before rolling them between your hands, toss the plucked pieces into the bowl of sugar. Then roll into balls, and toss back once again in the sugar bowl for a second coating—until they’re “sparkly white.” This helps make an outside layer of sugar that makes it look sparkly and snowy and crackly when they bake up. Place the balls on the lined baking sheet, making sure to leave a good 2 inches or so between them. Refrigerate any dough you have leftover imbetween batches—it’s a soft dough that’s best when the cookies are baked when they’re still chilled a bit.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the color is dark and even across the whole cookie (there’s a big time difference between 10 and 15 minutes (see note about crispy-crunchy versus soft-chewy cookie in the notes). Remove the cookies from the oven and immediately transfer to a baking rack to let cool at least slightly. They’re best when given a good half hour to an hour to cool. Store in an airtight container.
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