These classic Ginger Snap Cookies are easy to make, come together quickly and are filled with heavenly ginger flavour. With the quintessential snap when broken, these perfectly spiced cookies will remind you of days gone by.
These Ginger Snap Biscuits have to be one of my favourite cookies to make because they are just so super simple to make and yet so flavoursome. They remind me of trips up to see my Grandparents in the north of England, where the biscuit tin in the larder was filled with Ginger Snaps.
The predominant flavour is ginger (that goes without saying!), but with the addition of light brown sugar, molasses and golden syrup in the dough, the taste is sweet, warming, spiced and downright irresistible. The ginger, cinnamon and cloves provide the familiar warmth that we associate with Christmas cookies. They have the signature snap when broken open due to the crispy edges, but the centre of the cookie also has a sublime chew factor to it.
These old fashioned cookies make the perfect holiday cookie with their festive flavouring, but I don't want to put them into the winter baking box as truthfully, I can eat these all year round! They sit hand in hand with my Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies, Cranberry Orange Shortbread and Almond Biscotti - perfectly festive cookies (that make fabulous edible gifts, just sayin') that suit year-round consumption!!
Why you'll love this recipe
- Dough comes together in only a few steps. Only 5 simple steps to make the dough and that includes rolling them!
- No chill time required. Got to love a cookie that you don't need to chill! They take less than 15 minutes to make, and 15 minutes or under to bake. That's maximum 30 mins to have these ready to eat!
- Smells like santas grotto! When freshly baked, the aroma of these will fill your house with what I imagine Santa's grotto to smell like. Heavenly ginger and cinnamon spice.
- Best cookie/biscuit ever for dunking! These cookies have the best texture to dunk into your hot drink. They won't fall apart and become mush in the bottom of your mug!
The ingredients for these Ginger Snap Cookies are exactly like that for Gingerbread or Chewy Molasses Cookies. The difference is all in the ratio of ingredients. That's where baking science comes in.
In a nutshell, the cookie has to have that signature snap that comes from less moisture and the help of baking soda. The single egg gives the dough just enough lift to puff up in the oven cracking the outer layer as it does so, and then when removed, the hot air dissipates and it falls back down to produce a flat cookie.
- Butter - Unsalted, room temperature butter is needed. Make sure its soft enough to cream properly with the sugars as they need a chance to dissolve into the butter in the first step of the recipe. Salted butter has a higher water content, so I prefer to use unsalted to butter to minimise this extra moisture, but also because I can contraol the level of salt in the recipe.
- Sugar- Both light brown sugar and white sugar is used. The ratio of white sugar is higher as it helps the cookies spread out in the oven and contains less moisture making the cookie crisp up in the oven.
- Egg - Only one large egg is needed. The yolk provides richness, flavour and helps with the chewiness, whilst the egg white binds the ingredients but also helps provide some lift the the batter whilst baking.
- Molasses and Golden Syrup - I first tested these only using molasses. The taste was good but the resulting colour was just too dark for what I though Ginger Snap Cookies should be. So I introduced equal parts molasses and golden syrup and they turned out perfectly. The golden syrup adds a caramelised sweetness whilst the molasses adds a distinctive rich, bitter smokiness. Substitute the golden syrup with corn syrup if necessary.
- Flour - All purpose (plain) flour is ideal to bring together all the ingretdiens.
- Baking Soda - The baking soda not only helps to brown the cookie, but also helps to spread the cookie too.
- Spices & Salt - The hero spice is ground ginger, and lots of it! Two whole tablespoons for this batch of 28 cookies. Ground cinnamon and cloves round out the flavour but feel free to play with the spices to get the warmth that you love. All-spice or nutmeg can be added too. As always, the salt balances the sweetness.
Note: I've included white sugar for rolling the cookie balls in prior to baking. In the UK it isn't standard to roll Ginger Snap Cookies in sugar but I know that in the States it is quite common. I've included it so that wherever you are baking from, you can choose whether you add this step in or not. You can see in my first image that some of the cookies are left without. Visually they look the same... the sugar just adds more sweetness and looks pretty too.
Step by step instructions
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!*
I can't say enough how brilliantly quick and easy this recipe is to make. Let's jump right in so that you can see for yourself!
Make the Ginger Snap Cookie dough
1. Prepare the oven and baking trays. The first step is to preheat the oven. Set it to 170C (320F), which, yes, is a little below what we would normally bake our treats at. This means the cookies are in the oven for a little longer than normal which helps them spread more. Line two baking trays with baking paper. I place the cookie dough balls split onto the two trays but actually bake one at a time on the central shelf in the oven.
2. Cream the butter and the two sugars. The room temperature butter, light brown sugar and white sugar are added to the bowl of a stand mixer and creamed for 5 or so minutes. This allows the sugar crystals to dissolve into the butter and the butter itself to aerate which helps with the texture of the cookies. You'll want to see the mixture get visibly paler and thicker. (Image 1 & 2)
3. Add the wet ingredients. The single egg, molasses and golden syrup are our wet ingredients. Mix them into the creamed butter until well combined. (Image 3 & 4)
TIP: Scrape the base and sides of the bowl.
The golden syrup and especially the molasses are very sticky substances and will tend to sink to the bottom of your mixing bowl and stick to it under the mixture. Ensure that halfway through you scrape down the sides and the base of the bowl to lift up this stickiness and mix it in again to ensure it's evenly distributed throughout.
4. Add dry ingredients. All the remaining ingredients get added now. That's the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon & cloves and last but not least, salt. To minimise on dishes, there's no need to sift them into a separate bowl and then add them to the mixture. Sift right into that mixing bowl. The act of sifting will automatically mix the dry ingredients together and remove any lumps from the flour. Mix it in until you see the dough forming. Don't over mix at this point, if a few flour streaks remain, then this is good!! (Image 5 & 6) Remove the ball from the mixer and use your fingers to squeeze the dough together to become one cohesive ball.
4. Roll into balls. Scoop out the cookie dough using a cookie scoop and gently roll the ball inbetween the palms of your hands and place on the prepared baking tray. So, I get really particular about baking equal sized cookies. And to do this I weigh my dough to get the exact same cookie dough ball. I tested varying sizes and found that 30g per ball (1.5 tablespoons) was a perfect size. (Image 7)
Optional. If you decide to roll the cookie dough balls in sugar, then now is the time. Simply toss the ball in the sugar until fully coated, then place on the baking tray. (Image 8 & 9). You can see in Image 9 that I have done half plain and half rolled in sugar. You can do the same! Make sure to leave 5 cm (2-inches) between each ball as they will spread in the oven.
5. Bake. I prefer to bake one tray at a time for between 14-16 minutes or when golden around the outside. By adding two trays into the oven can affect how the heat in the oven is distributed meaning that you may get some areas in the oven hotter than other. This can lead to uneven bake of your cookies. To prevent this, just bake one tray placed on the centre shelf. Easy peasy.
The cookies will puff up and crack when in the oven. This is totally normal. The cracks in the surface mean that when you remove them from the oven, the hot air/steam will escape quickly throuh those cracks and they'll flatten. Leave the cookies on the baking tray to cool completely and you'll see that they''ll firm up once cool. Note: If you find they are still a little puffy when you take them out and you want perfectly flat cookies, then whilst they are hot, press gently with the base of a glass or measuring cup. I didn't need to do this but I know all our ovens bake differently!
- Extra ginger: If you want that real ginger zing, then add a ½ cup of crystalised ginger, coarsely chopped, into the cookie dough along with the flour. You can also add some grated fresh ginger for that extra robust spice and heat if you crave that.
- White Chocolate: Ginger and white chocolate create a really beautiful flavour profile together. Once cooled, you can drizzle each cookie with white chocolate. Or you can go one step further and dunk half the cookie in the melted white chocolate. I turned these into real Christmas cookies with the white chocolate and some storebought Christmas sprinkles shaped into holly leaves and berries. They look so cute! A real hit with my kids!! (See below)
Ginger Cookies are one of the few cookies that I love to be crispy. I mean the store bought ones that I grew up on are totally crunch worthy. These have a slight chew in the centre but if you'd prefer them to be crispier, without over cooking, then lower the oven temp to 160C (320F) and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. A little longer in the oven at a lower temperature will dry out the centre to get the crunch and crispiness all the way through.
- Scrape down the base and sides of the bowl whilst making the dough. Sticky molasses and golden syrup do just that - stick! So scrape it off the bottom so it incorporates evenly.
- Weigh your cookie balls. For the best chance at even sized cookies/biscuits, weigh each ball on digital scales. Or scoop 1 ½ tablespoons of dough per ball.
- Leave room on the baking tray. These cookies will spread in the oven, so leave plenty of room around them to avoid them baking into one huge cookie. (I'd still eat that though!!)
Frequently asked questions
Ginger Nut Biscuits and Ginger Snap Cookies, Ginger Snap Biscuits and Ginger Snaps are all exactly the same thing. New Zealand and Australia call them Ginger Nut Biscuits, America calls them Ginger Snap Cookies and Britain calls them GInger Snap biscuits (but also Ginger Nuts too!!).
The 'snap' actually derives from the old Dutch or German word, Shnappen, meaning to snap. This refers to the crisp texture that allows them to snap when broken open. Ginger Snap Cookies are renowned for their dunkability into a hot cup of tea or coffee as with their hard texture, they will hold their shape and won't disintegrate into the drink.
Gingersnaps make the most awesome biscuit crumb base to a cheesecake. Substitute the digestive biscuits with Ginger Snaps in my No-Bake Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake for a delicious spin on a classic.
Good question! Looking at the ingredient list, you would be see that they contain the same list of ingredients. However, Molasses cookies have less ground ginger which allows the molasses flavour to shine through. They also have less flour and baking soda which makes them a puffier, chewy style cookie.
In the UK the supermarkets only stock the one type of Molasses, also called black treacle. On doing some research for those in the States, I have seen many types of molasses are readily available. I suggest going for an unsulphered molasses like the Mild from Brer Rabbit or Grandma's Original, (never blackstrap as it's too bitter).
How to store and freeze
To store: Ginger Snap Cookies will last longer than most cookies because their moisture content is a lot lower due to their crispiness. However, I do find that after a couple of days the crispness around the edges goes and they become chewy all over. They taste great still and you get the best of both worlds with them going from crisp to chewy!! They will keep though in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
To freeze: Cool cookies completely and store in a freezer-safe airtight container or a ziplock bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for a couple of hours or overnight. To freeze cookie dough balls, scoop and roll onto a baking tray/sheet and freeze. Once frozen, store in a freezer-safe airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Bake straight from frozen adding on a couple of extra minutes to the bake time.
Equipment you’ll need
- Standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment: Mine is easily accessible and makes light work of creating this easy to make ginger cookie dough. Electric hand-held beaters can be used as an alternative.
- Baking sheets/trays: I suggest lining two with parchment paper. The cookies themselves do spread meaning that lots of space should be left around each cookie ball before baking.
More ginger spiced recipes that you may like
These Ginger Snap Cookies make the perfect afternoon treat dipped into hot tea or coffee. I hope that you can just how easy it is to create this homemade recipe in your home.
If you tried these classic Ginger Snap Cookies or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how you go in the comments below. I love hearing from you. Also, please leave a star rating whilst you're there!
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Ginger Snap Cookies Recipe
- Baking Tray
- 170 g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 150 g granulated sugar
- 55 g light brown sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 25 g molasses (black treacle)
- 25 g golden syrup
- 345 g plain flour (all-purpose)
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves, or nutmeg or all-spice
- ½ tsp fine salt
- 100 g granulated sugar (optional), for rolling dough balls in
- Prepare oven and trays. Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F) and line two baking trays/sheets with parchment paper (or use one and cook in batches).
- Cream butter and sugars together. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the butter and both sugars. Beat on medium to high for 4 to 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is pale. Scrape down the base and sides of the bowl.
- Add wet ingredients. Add in the egg, molasses and golden syrup and beat again until combined. Again, scrape down the base and sides of the bowl as the molasses tends to stick to the bottom.
- Sift in dry ingredients. Sift into the bowl the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and add in the salt. Mix until a soft dough starts to form. Remove the bowl and use your hands to bring any remaining bits together in the bowl.
- Roll into balls. Use a cookie scoop to scoop out 1 - 1½ tablespoons of dough and roll into balls between your hands. (30g per ball makes the perfect size cookie for me.) Dust hands lightly with flour if necessary. Optional. If you would like a sugar coating to the cookies, then roll the balls in sugar. Place balls onto the prepared baking trays leaving 5 cm (2-inches) between them as they do spread whilst baking.
- Bake. Bake cookies for 14 to 16 minutes until golden brown and cracked on the top. I suggest baking one tray at a time on the middle shelf. They will be puffy when you remove them from the oven but will flatten as soon as you take them out. They'll also harden and crisp up as they cool. (When still hot, flatten with a flat-bottom glass if need be). Leave to cool completely on the baking trays.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.