(from my great-grandmother)
Technically, these are really molasses cookies – but my family has always called them ginger snaps. They don’t have the acrid, overly intense spiciness of many ginger snaps. Rather, like good bread, they have a pleasant outer crust and a moist, satisfying crumb beneath.
You can chill the dough in the freezer for about an hour, or let it refrigerate for up to two days (wrap the dough in wax paper to keep it from drying out). If you refrigerate it, for easier handling you can take out the dough 20-30 minutes prior to forming the cookies.
Rolling the cookies in tubinado sugar – you know, Sugar in the Raw – gives the cookies a little more initial flavor, and compliments the molasses taste. That is my one minor improvement to this classic Johnson family recipe.
3/4 cup butter
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. dark molasses
2 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
additional sugar for rolling, preferably turbinado
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- In a medium-sized bowl, melt butter in the microwave until it is warm, but not hot.
- Add sugar and molasses to the butter; add the egg.
- Put all dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk them together.
- Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and stir until well-combined.
- Chill the dough.
- Form the dough into 24 small balls.
- Roll the cookies in sugar until their entire little bodies are completely covered.
- Put the cookies on two 13x18” ungreased cookie sheets. Parchment paper is optional. If you like a flatter cookie, you may gently press down on their tops with the heel of your hand.
- Bake 8-12 minutes. If they still have that “raw” look on top, they aren’t done. If they’re stiff, they’re overdone. Remember, they will harden somewhat after they come out of the oven, so take them out when they’re still moist.
- Remove them from the sheet to a cooling rack.