Aficionados of ginger cookies fall into two camps, I've been told. Purists may insist on that literal "snap" in a gingersnap, but I am more open to interpretation. My ideal ginger cookie is soft and chewy on the inside, just slightly crispy on the outside, and full of spicy ginger flavor.
I've been making the recipe below for almost twenty years, and I can't even remember what magazine or book I lifted it from. I love it because it doubles or even triples easily and perfectly, for those times when only piles of cookies will do. The dough can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator, so you can make a big batch and bake them up as needed. They are a must during the holiday season, pairing perfectly with a steaming cup of tea or hot cocoa.
I love cookies that can be formed right out of the bowl. Sometimes that extra step of wrapping and chilling is just too much effort, even for a pastry chef. Because these cookies are made with oil instead of butter, you can start baking them right way without the dough falling apart in your hands. I do recommend letting the dough sit about 10 minutes before you start shaping them—all doughs benefit from a little rest right after mixing, which allows the flour to absorb the moisture in the recipe.
The cookies are rolled into balls that expand and spread, so be sure to space them properly on the cookie sheet. Store them in an airtight container with a few apple peels to maintain the irresistibly chewy texture.
About the author: Gina DePalma is the pastry chef at Mario Batali's Babbo restaurant in New York City and the author of Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen. After a stint in Rome, she's back in the States sharing recipes and intel on delicious Italian eats.
- 4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 teaspoons baking soda
- 4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/3 cup vegetable, canola or sunflower oil
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
- Additional granulated sugar for rolling the cookies
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Lightly grease two cookies sheets with non-stick cooking spray or butter and line them with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon and set aside.
Using and electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the oil, sugar and eggs on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and light. Beat in the eggs, one at time, followed by the molasses, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. On low speed, beat in the dry ingredients to make a firm dough.
Place some granulated sugar in a medium bowl. Using lightly floured fingers, form the dough into 3/4-inch balls. Roll each ball in the granulated sugar to evenly coat them. Place the cookies on baking sheets, evenly spaced and inch apart, and lightly press them with your fingers to flatten them slightly.
Bake the cookies until they are puffed, cracked, and lightly golden brown, about 16 to 18 minutes, rotating the pans 180° halfway through the baking time to ensure even browning. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for two or three minutes, then use a spatula to gently transfer them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Store the cookies in an airtight container, kept in a cool, dry place, for up to a week.