What’s your favorite Christmas cookie? Do you have one? Or even better than that, what’s your favorite Christmas memory or tradition? My favorite tradition is our family’s annual cookie baking day that’s always the week after Thanksgiving at my Grandma’s house. It’s also where I have a lot of really fond Christmas memories. We started this tradition 15+ years ago and in the beginning it was just the two of us baking more cookies than anyone would know what to do with in a day. Luckily, Grandpa was there to supervise and also take us out to dinner in the afternoon when there literally wasn’t a place to set a plate of food because the counters and table were filled with cookies! We’ve cut back a little since then and recruited some help…we’ve gotten wiser over the years 😉 I also took over making the gingerbread cut-outs and now bake those a couple days after Thanksgiving to bring along the following weekend. These gingersnaps have always been part of actual cookie day though and still are now. We mix up the dough the day before and keep it chilled in the fridge for the next day (only do this with cookie dough that does not have butter; if it has butter it will be hard as a rock the next day!) so then you just have to roll the dough into balls and coat with sugar before baking.
I love this handwritten recipe for the gingersnaps too. I don’t really have anything I collect…like the glass turtles my sister in law looks for on trips, the teapots my mother in law had lined up in her pantry or the snowglobes Hailey loves to have from each new state visited…but I do like to collect items passed down from family members and old recipes are some of my favorite things. I’m trying to decide how to preserve this one that’s even smaller than a 4×6 photo so finding a frame is slightly challenging. Of course it’d be unfair to say I’ve spent much time searching 😉 We’ll say that’s because I’ve been too busy baking cookies. Sounds good, right?
If you don’t have one already, I’m going to continue to encourage you to invest in a KitchenAid stand mixer! It makes mixing up cookie dough such a breeze and if you have that and a cookie scoop like that blurry one pictured above you’re going to be all set for making gingersnaps with minimal effort! You simply cream all of the wet ingredients together in the mixer, stir the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and then gradually add the dry ingredients to the mixer as well until everything is well combined and ready to chill! Then you use your handy cookie scoop to roll the perfect size ball of dough, toss it around in some extra sugar and bake for ten minutes! Easy. Peasy. The recipe also makes quite a few gingersnaps so if you’re attending any cookie exchanges this season it’s perfect for that!
A few things to keep in mind before you start gathering your ingredients in the kitchen…
• If you’re making a couple batches and have chilled the dough before baking, be sure to keep the dough for the second batch in the fridge while you’re rolling out and baking the first batch. If the dough sits out and warms up, the cookies don’t seem to rise as well.
• For consistency, use a small cookie scoop to form your dough balls. It makes them the perfect size!
• Watch the cookies closely in the oven! They’ll bake for 10 minutes, but it’s always a good idea to start checking them a minute early to avoid over baking!
• Gingersnap cookies freeze exceptionally well! We store them in Ziploc bags in the freezer. Just be sure to squeeze the air out of the bags and close completely with the press & seal or zipper.
Nine days until Christmas! Well, if you’re reading this today anyway! Time isn’t slowing down so might I suggest you look for things that can be removed from the to do list over the next week so you can replace those lines with ‘enjoy the season’? I think as adults we tend to forget to still have fun this time of year, because we’re spending all of our time “getting ready for the holiday”. Watch the movies, drink the hot cocoa, take a stroll in the snow, dine at festive restaurants, see a show at the theater and be merry! And on that note, happy baking 🙂
The perfect sugar coated cookies for your holiday!
- 3/4 cup crisco shortening
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- sugar for coating
Combine the shortening, brown sugar, molasses and egg in a stand mixer and cream together to mix well.
In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, ginger and cinnamon. Gradually add this mixture to the wet ingredients in the stand mixer until all ingredients are well combined and dough has formed.
Using a cookie scoop, form dough into small balls and roll in sugar to coat. Add to a baking sheet (a dozen or so at a time) and bake in a preheated oven (at 350 F) for 10 minutes. Watch closely and remove from oven when cookies begin to crack and look almost done.
Transfer cookies to a cooling rack. Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Have a beautiful day!!