This gingersnap cookie recipe delivers the crunch factor and bold spices you expect. Using baking soda ensures crackly tops and super crisp treats, while molasses, cinnamon, and pepper, provide a robust flavor.
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Gingersnap cookies are tiny edible bursts of magic during the holiday season. Browned butter and molasses provide a dark hue and deep caramelized notes. To add unsuspecting flavor, robust dried and fresh spices are added to the batter. Cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and a blend of peppers make the taste buds tingle.
The moisture is reduced to create the ultimate snappy texture, and plenty of baking soda is used. This recipe has a wonderful crunch, perfect for dipping into hot cups of cocoa or pumpkin spice latte. Each batch makes dozens of mini cookies to stash away for later or share in a cookie exchange.
The benefits of browning butter
Making browned butter for these ginger snaps adds a delicious toffee flavor. Gradually heating the fat toasts the milk solids and creates a nutty aroma.
The process also removes some moisture in the unsalted butter and makes the cookie dough less wet. This is important because the cookies should be drier and crunchy throughout, not have chewy centers.
Add bold spices
Add warm winter flavors with a generous amount of dried spices. Ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, and a pinch of cayenne pepper punch the taste and add a tingle. This is mixed with the warm browned butter to make the taste more robust and fragrant. Freshly minced ginger, molasses, and brown sugar complement the browned butter’s caramel flavors. Eggs are mixed in for binding and extra richness.
Baking soda helps the crunch factor
Instead of a soft and chewy texture like soft molasses cookies, these have a snap! Baking soda helps give the cookies a slight lift, but higher levels also develop a more substantial crunch, similar to crackers. The baking soda is combined with all-purpose flour and salt to give the cookie structure.
After stirring in the dry ingredients, chill the dough. This gives the melted butter a chance to firm up, so it’s easy to roll into dough balls.
Roll and bake
Portion the cookie dough into small, 1-inch-sized balls. For extra sweetness and crunch, roll and coat in granulated sugar. The will spread, which is what we want! Place them about 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. The activity of the leavening agent creates veiny cracks on the surface, allowing moisture to escape more efficiently.
Baking at moderately low temperatures of 300ºF (149ºC) for at least 20 minutes ensures even drying without the cookies getting burnt. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely at room temperature. They will harden even more for an undeniable crunch.
More holiday cookies
Bloom the spices
Add the dried spices directly to the warmed, browned butter. You will immediately smell the pungent aromas emerge as they gently heat in the oil. The rise in temperature releases fat-soluble flavor compounds that are enhanced in the warmed fat. This creates a more flavorful cookie even before you bake them.
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- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 ¼ cups dark brown sugar, packed
- ¼ cup unsulphured molasses
- 2 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- Preheat the Oven – Set the oven rack to the center position. Preheat to 300ºF (149ºC). Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Prepare the Dry Ingredients – In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Brown the Butter – In a 10-inch skillet (do not use nonstick, or you won’t be able to see the browning), heat the butter over medium heat. Once melted, reduce the heat to medium-low. Swirl the skillet frequently until the butter solids begin to brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Quickly transfer the browned butter to a large bowl.
- Make the Dough – Add ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, and cayenne to the butter, and whisk to combine. Cool slightly for 2 minutes.Add brown sugar, molasses, and fresh ginger, and whisk to combine. Add egg plus egg yolk, and whisk to combine. Add flour and stir with a spatula until just combined.
- Chill the Dough – Tightly cover and refrigerate the dough until firm, 45 to 60 minutes.
- Roll Out the Cookies – Roll the dough into 2 teaspoon-sized (12g) balls, about 1" in size. Add granulated sugar into a shallow bowl and roll the cookies inside to coat.
- Bake – Evenly space the cookies 2" apart, about 20 per sheet pan. Bake 1 sheet at a time until the edges just darken, 20 to 22 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through.
- Let Them Cool – Transfer the cookies still sitting on the parchment paper to a wire rack to cool completely. They will harden more as they cool.
- Storing: Store gingersnap cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 7 days. Freeze for up to one month, then defrost before eating.
- Recipe Adapted From: America’s Test Kitchen, The Perfect Cookie
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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