The various phases of sugar refinement yield different colors of sugar – from dark brown to light brown and finally white sugar. Molasses can be added to white sugar to give the effect of brown sugar (1 tablespoon per cup of white sugar for light brown, 2 tablespoons per cup for dark brown). But when making gingersnap cookies, the extra kick of straight molasses is needed.
These spicy cookies are great on their own, as book-ends for ice-cream sandwiches or as a crunchy contrast to crème brulee.
The recipe comes from my pastry instructor Bo Friberg in cooking school, and now author of the authoritative book on professional baking. I usually make half the recipe at a time (which still yields quite a lot, maybe 5 dozen). I roll it into logs and freeze. Then, when I'm in the mood for cookies, I can slice off a few rounds to bake fresh.
Ginger Snap Cookies
(yields 5 dozen)
4 oz. (1 stick) soft butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 ½ egg
½ cup molasses (to best measure molasses, oil the measuring cup first, then the molasses will come right out)
1 tbs. white vinegar
3 1/2 cups A/P flour (better yet, weigh out 14 oz.)
1 tbs. baking soda
2 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. ground cardamom
1. Beat butter and sugar until well combined. Incorporate eggs, molasses, and vinegar
2. Sift together flour, baking soda and spices. Add to butter mixture, and mix just until combined. Refrigerate.
3. Divide dough into 2 pieces. Roll each piece into ropes, and cut each rope into 30 pieces.
4. Form the pieces into round balls and place on a cookie sheet.
5. Bake at 375 for approximately 10 minutes.