There are certain traditions that only the East Coast can celebrate, and one of them has something to do with Gingersnap Cookies. While enjoyed everywhere, mainly around Christmas, you know the weather has changed for the cooler when you start to see Sweetzels Spiced Wafers coming to stores. It’s just a sign that you’re allowed to start preparing for Halloween and that the fall foliage watchers are on patrol.
We had a bout of cold weather recently here in the MidWest and that’s when I started craving these crunchy spicy snaps. They’re relatively thin and absolutely crispy crunchy cookies. What makes them awesome is that they are a dunkers dream prefect with a glass of lemonade or tea, but they’re also thoroughly enjoyed with hot chocolate, cider, tea or even a bottle of wine from a shop like Marks and Spencer. Of course in my brain I figured I could easily make my own version, how hard could it be? It’s usually about that time when you ask yourself that question that you’re provided with a larger challenge.
When I started to make these cookies, I realized that many people are not as fond of the crispy cookies as compared to the lovers of chewy cookies. For me, these are the only cookies that I like super crunchy, otherwise chewy absolutely wins out. The biggest culprit of chewy vs. crispy is the variations in fat used in the recipe. King Arthur Flour did a wonderful overview on fats which I reference often when designing a new recipe. I decided that I wanted this recipe to work overtime in that it could cater to both chewy and crispy cookie aficionados.
Butter spread too much keeps the overall chewiness. Shortening creates crispy cookies but without depth of flavor. I could have used oils, but I figured I was bound to find my perfect balance with solid fats as it works in almost every other cookie recipe. Using the two fats, both shortening and butter, I was able to keep the best of both worlds. Keep in mind that if you make the crispy cookies, the crumbs make amazing crusts for cheesecake and pies!
In order to make sure I get a huge depth of flavor, I decided to melt my butter and add the freshly ground spices I used in the recipe. This allowed for the spices to become more aromatic and to carry their flavors much more readily into the recipe. I made sure the butter solidified before adding it to the recipe. Now while this step does add more time onto your preparations, it made a huge difference in the end flavor and is definitely something I suggest keeping with.
The spices were the final part of finding the right balance with the cookies. Ground spices could absolutely work, especially because they were being opened up with heating of the butter. I preferred however to use whole spices for maximum flavor. I even decided that a little added zip from black peppercorns would warrant an underlying heat without compromising the other flavors of the cookie and still be delicious. Allspice, cloves, black peppercorns, and ginger are what gave the spice of this recipe its optimal balance.
The final touch was with presentation. I decided that some sugar and cinnamon on the outside of these cookies would bring about some lovely sparkle and add just a bit more flavor.
Now if someone wanted to go even more above and beyond to let’s say maybe celebrate an engagement or bridal shower, then I found a really wonderful way to give these cookies their finishing touches. By the way, I just got engaged which makes these cookies even more perfect for celebrating our fall happiness! Adding white chocolate to the outside gives a lovely finish to these cookies, and the deigns help bring it back to matrimony bliss.
The “his” cookies are reminiscent of a black and white cookie, only the buttons of his suit coat are represented by mini chocolate chips. The “her” cookies are represented by a delicate flower of those she is destined to carry. Perfect for an engagement party or as part of the dessert platter at a home wedding, these are a great way to celebrate the vows of two people but with your own hidden agenda to enjoy the season of falling leaves and sweet treats.
To full plates and eating your tarte out.
- 1 teaspoon of allspice berries
- 3 whole cloves (or 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves)
- 1/4 teaspoon of black peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons of ground ginger
- 1/4 cup of butter
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups of flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking soda
- 1/4 cup of sugar, additional
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 package of white chocolate chips
- Take your allspice berries, cloves and black peppercorns and grind with a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. Mix in your ginger and set aside.
- In a small saucepan on low heat, melt your butter. Add your spice mixture and allow to cook for about 30 seconds or until mixture is very fragrant. Place in your mixing bowl and allow to come to room temperature (until it solidifies), about thirty minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In your bowl combine butter mixture, shortening, salt and sugar. Beat until airy, about two to three minutes. Add your egg and mix until incorporated, do the same with your molasses and vanilla. Mix in your flour and baking soda.
- In a small bowl combine additional sugar and cinnamon. Take heaping teaspoons of dough and roll in between your hands into a ball. Place the ball into the cinnamon sugar mixture and coat evenly. Place onto baking sheet and repeat. Using a flat bottomed drinking glass, press down on each ball until 1/2” thick. Repeat.
- Bake for twelve minutes for soft cookies, and twenty minutes for crispy cookies. Allow to completely cool.
- In a small microwave bowl, place your white chocolate chips. Heat the chocolate in the microwave at 50% power for thirty seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir the chocolate. Keep repeating this process until the chocolate is almost completely melted. Remove from microwave and continue stirring until the white chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
- Take half of your cookies and dip one at a time into the white chocolate, coating the cookie halfway. If your white chocolate is too thick for this, place your cookie overtop the chocolate and use a spoon to smooth out chocolate on the top side. Place cookie on wire rack and repeat with remaining cookies. Allow to set and enjoy!
- Serve with hot chocolate, tea, coffee or even lemonade.
- To make engagement cookies, dip half of your cookies into the white chocolate. Dress with three mini chocolate chips down the center to represent buttons (his cookies). For the other half of the cookies, place remaining white chocolate into a piping bag. Pipe out small flowers onto the face of the cookie (her cookies). Allow to set.