Thursday, 6 December 2012

Ginger Snaps That Don't Snap!

I've done it!  I've actually started my Christmas baking ahead of schedule.  My usual, wait until a week before Christmas and pound out as many different types of cookies in one day while turning the kitchen into a scene from a disaster movie and staying up till 3am to get that last batch done and wipe the icing sugar off the cupboards (leave the stuff on the ceiling till morning) so as not to infuriate the husband, routine will not be happening this year.  Finally.  Though it feels a little strange starting the baking without any decorations up in the house (meet the seven little reasons why I can't put my tree up yet here).

I like to give out tins of cookies to friends and family as a way of spreading the joy.  Plus, I love to bake.  But I also love to eat and the fella doesn't exactly have a sweet tooth so I'm left to enjoy the Christmassy goodness all by myself (I know, poor me - but folks, my gym closes for 2 weeks over the holidays, so you see my problem here).  The tins are always returned empty so I must be doing something right, or my people just ain't that picky.  I'll let you decide for yourself.  I'll post my adventures in Christmas baking as I go along and let me know what you think if you try any of the recipes.  You can also just let me know what your thinking, about anything really, unless it's creepy - keep that to yourself.

So, to kickstart the baking bonanza I give you ginger snaps, that don't snap.

I got this recipe from my mother, who says she adapted from Better Homes and Gardens.  These are cookies she made for us while growing up.  I have to be honest here, I didn't really like them.  I wasn't a huge fan of molasses and they were always very hard to bite into.  But my palate has developed since then and I have also found that when I make these cookies, they never snap.  They always stay chewy, even after having been in the freezer for awhile (this batch makes a lot and I always have some left come January - I'm not really talking these up here, am I?  They're good, I swear!).  I was trying to figure out what I might be doing differently to make them stay chewy and discussed my thoughts with my mother.  I thought it could be the sugar I was using, my mother says my house is damp.  I get it, it rains a lot here (it's chucking it down as I type).  And I like them on the chewy side.  But here's an experiment:  if you make these cookies, report back here and tell me where in the world you made them and are they snappy or chewy.  In the meantime, I'm off to turn up the heat and dry out my maison.  Shh, don't tell my husband.

Ginger Snaps (that don't snap) yields 4 dozen  
Adapted from my mother who adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

3/4 cups butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup black treacle (molasses)
2 teaspoons vinegar (I used malt)
3 and 3/4 cups flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
pinch ofground cloves
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of pepper (my mom's addition; I didn't have any today)

Sidebar: my cheapy mixer decided to hold all of the butter between the beaters and forced me to go old skool and use a wooden spoon.  Good thing I got that little upper body workout because I had to do a fair bit of taste testing (for chewyness).

In a large bowl, beat butter with a hand mixer (or wooden spoon).  Add in the sugar a little at a time and beat in with butter.  Stir in slightly beaten eggs and vinegar and then mix in the treacle.  In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and spices.  Then, while stirring the wet mixture with a spoon, blend in the flour mixture a little at a time until everything has combined.

Roll dough into similar sized balls and roll in white sugar.  Place at least 5cm apart on baking tray and bake for 8-10 minutes at 200°C.

Tip from my mom:  weigh each ball of dough to achieve cookies of the same size.  I did most of these at 30 grams each but 20 grams made nice bite size cookies (perfect because you can eat more!) 

20 grams to the left and 30 on the right


  1. These are my most favourite cookies. I will have to work on a low fat low sugar version now that I have "the sugar" ;-)

  2. I am loving your Christmas cookie adventures Chloe. I remember mking these with your Mom. More likely, your Mpm did the actual baking and I did the taste testing. I know I made them myself later when I was at UWO and living wirh my two Bros. But I seem to remember that the recipe was adapted from the Joy of Cooking and the secret, must have ingredient was the pepper. What say you Bern?