Gingersnap Cookies

4.61 from 28 votes
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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.

Freshly baked gingersnap cookies on a parchment paper lined sheet pan.

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

Foam in a pan while melting butter.
Step 3. Brown the 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

Coating gingersnap cookie dough balls in a bowl of granulated sugar.
Step 6. Roll out the cookies

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

Gingersnap cookies with cracked surface on a sheet pan.

Recipe Science

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.

Gingersnap Cookies

Crunchy gingersnap cookies are super easy to make and will be the highlight of the holiday cookie exchange this season.
4.61 from 28 votes
Prep Time1 hour 40 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time3 hours
Servings 60 cookies
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 60 cookies
Calories 69kcal (3%)Carbohydrates 11g (4%)Protein 1g (2%)Fat 2g (3%)Saturated Fat 1g (5%)Cholesterol 10mg (3%)Sodium 60mg (3%)Potassium 36mg (1%)Fiber 1g (4%)Sugar 7g (8%)Vitamin A 75IU (2%)Calcium 9mg (1%)Iron 1mg (6%)

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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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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4 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Doug Finch says

    Hi, I’m looking for a recipe that produces ginger snap cookies with that extra snap! Any suggestions? Maybe a little bit more of this or a little bit more of that? One recipe I was looking at called for a pinch of black pepper. When I was a kid and I had a couple in a row I would be left with a Kick or a Bite left in my mouth.
    Pun intended!
    Thank you <

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Doug! These are pretty snappy. you could leave them on the warm sheet pan for a few extra minutes before transferring to the cooling rack, but they already harden more as they cool.

  2. JJ says

    Pepper and cayenne pepper in a cookie! I’ve got to try it. Are the peppers for enhancing the other flavors? Balance the sweet? Interested…!