the moveable feasts

Kim Boyce’s Chewy Gingersnaps, from home

with 21 comments

kim boyce's gingersnaps

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.

kim boyce's gingersnaps

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.

kim boyce's gingersnaps

// 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.

One Year Ago: Talley’s Italian Snowball Cookies
Two Years Ago: Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

From Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grainvia Linda who (very kindly) originally shared them with me
Makes 3 dozen

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
1 egg

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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Written by Amy

December 14, 2013 at 3:26 am

Posted in Cookies and Bars

Tagged with ,

21 Responses

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  1. My favorite new quote: “People do fine with approximations!” This is my new cooking motto, haha.


    December 14, 2013 at 8:44 am

    • Oh my god that comic is so funny. My favorite is the third square – “I will say ‘wicked sweettimes’ and then I will say ‘what did you get me’ and then I will say ‘I bet it is so awesome’ and that will be that.” The inside joke is with Linds, by the way (as are all my inside jokes?)


      December 14, 2013 at 9:27 am

  2. Amy I love that you love that comic! It’s always made me laugh, thanks for reminding me of it! I spent the holidays in Europe for 2011 and I thought it would be really sad and weird but my family (including grandparents) came to visit which made everything perfect, yes it wasn’t the same as a good ol Montana Christmas but honestly I’ll remember that Christmas more than any other because it was different, and special. Family is really what makes this time of year magical, at least that’s my take on things. You’re gonna have so much with everyone. Also, don’t you feel kind of important because everyone is coming to you? Can’t wait to see you so so so soon! Lots of love! Also I might have to make these cookies, they look delicious!


    December 14, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    • And I am so excited for you to get here too, of course !! x


      December 16, 2013 at 6:47 am

  3. I imagine Christmas in Paris to be so beautiful- there is something about living in a big city at Christmas time that is so atmospheric. Will you be taking charge of the Christmas lunch as you are hosting? Also I’m not usually a cookie fan as i find hem a bit sickly but I love ginger biscuits as they are less sweet so maybe these could be the cookies to change my mind.

    Amy Alt

    December 15, 2013 at 10:23 am

    • I think we’re going to go to a French traiteur for traditional French christmas food – most of it will probably be prepared. I think it’d be too much to try and cook it all in a kitchen that’s not ours with limited or not the right supplies. :) And I wish I had your problem… I’d have to worry so much less about gaining weight if I didn’t like cookies, haha.


      December 16, 2013 at 6:49 am

  4. I have never shared a Christmas cookie recipe before, exactely because I never make them far enough in advance to have the post ready early enough. Maybe I should follow your example and take a few pictures this year to share next year.
    I am planning on baking Christmas cookies next Saturday, together with a few friends, and I am considering making your chewy gingersnaps. I usually just end up making the same cookies year after year, but what fun is that? Oh and the spice cookies are on my list to try, too. I saw them last year but never got around to making them, and then I forgot about them – thank you for the reminder!
    And enjoy your family while they are in Paris! I am sure it is going to be a wonderfully different Christmas.


    December 15, 2013 at 10:32 am

    • Oh I hope you share with us what you end up making! How fun. I always like the idea of baking with my friends but when it actually happens I get too controlling and just want to do everything myself, haha. Thanks Lena, and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas too! x


      December 16, 2013 at 6:49 am

      • haha, I am kind of controlling too. I just need to shut up and not say anything about please only making cinnamon stars (the traditional shape of a swiss cookie) and not using all the other shapes I also have.
        And I just wanted to share the link to these cookies with you, because you might like those? they look really good


        December 17, 2013 at 11:03 am

  5. Hello! I just tried making these and found that they were very flat and chewy, yours look so thick and chewy! Do you have any suggestions?! They taste great otherwise!


    December 15, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    • Usually cookies get flater in the oven more quickly when they’re not chilled – an easy way to get very thick cookies is to make sure the dough is very cold, or frozen. So I would just make sure that the dough really has chilled for at least two hours, or, if you already did that, I would try putting the dough in the freezer for maybe a half hour before you plan on using it to really firm it up. And make sure you’re putting the leftover dough back in the fridge when baking up the cookies (as opposed to letting it sit at room temp to make all the batches). Hope that helps!


      December 16, 2013 at 2:24 am

  6. Chewy and soft gingersnaps are some of my absolute favorites. That Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread and Date and Fig swirls look like total must-tries.

    How awesome that everyone is coming to Paris for Christmas. Everyone should have an excuse to go somewhere like that for Christmas. That sounds like a wonderful new family tradition!


    December 15, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    • Yes, I hope it becomes a tradition! Might as well just pick a spot on the map to all meet up, more fun anyway.


      December 16, 2013 at 6:51 am

  7. These look familiar! I’m so glad you liked them Amy. Although I’m now wondering why Kim titled them gingersnaps when they’re clearly not snappy? Eh, whatever. They’re delicious, misleading name and all. :) I want to branch out this year and make gingerbread men! Know of a good recipe?

    And I know what it’s like being abroad for the holidays—although my situation was a bit different from yours since Chris and I were backpacking and all the friendships we struck up were transient. I definitely felt homesick on Christmas though. So I’m glad that your family’s flying out to spend the holidays with you! A win for both sides!


    December 15, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    • Yeah I was wondering the same thing – why they are called gingersnaps. Man, sometimes I just don’t get language things. Whatever they’re called though, I like them. And I don’t know a good gingerbread men recipe, although I have always wanted to try out Smitten Kitchen’s dark and spicy gingerbread cookie recipe, and it looks like it’d be good for gingerbread men.


      December 16, 2013 at 6:52 am

  8. These look like the perfect Christmas cookie! I know exactly what you mean about posting late – every year I make a ton of Christmassy stuff last minute, then don’t post the recipes as all anyone cares about in January is lettuce leaves and soup ;-)


    December 16, 2013 at 4:08 am

    • Haha, excatly! Usually I just post anyway and say whatever to the lettuce and soup, but I guess here these cookies were just a little too Christmas-y for me to post afterwards.


      December 16, 2013 at 6:53 am

  9. Soft and chewy cookies are where it’s at, and gingersnaps/ginger cookies/whatever you want to call them are so perfect for the holidays. I could do with a couple of these cookies and a cup of coffee right about now. It’s so cool that your family is heading to Paris for the holidays – I bet you will have a wonderful time.

    Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe

    December 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm

  10. i neeeeeed theeeeeese! i have a gingersnap recipe to post today as well (tis the season!) but honestly yours look so much better than anything i could ever make! love your photography as well amy, beautiful as always.
    the hobbit kitchen x

    holly ; the hobbit kitchen

    December 17, 2013 at 12:16 am

  11. I hope you have a really nice Christmas with your family in Paris Amy! I know it will be hard to be away from home, or at least very different, but I think it will be one of those experiences you never forget! I’ll be thinking of you a lot. Love you

    Abbey Davies

    December 17, 2013 at 4:10 pm

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