Very excited to share with you all (aka my mom, hi Mom!) my first food post, for gingersnaps, or in Swedish, pepparkakor. These are extra-crispy and extra-spicy, just as gingersnaps should be.
It’s finally gotten cold (by Israeli standards) here in Tel Aviv, and in the winter spirit I’ve been making good use of ingredients like ginger and pumpkin and preparations like soups and stews. I decided it was time to revisit these gingersnaps, which I last made about six months ago. The recipe is adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, but I’ve upped the cinnamon, added nutmeg, and subbed molasses for date syrup (silan), which is easier to find here. I also find date syrup more complex, less bitter, and more caramel-y than traditional molasses, which is made from sugarcane. All wins in my book! However, if you cannot find date syrup, you can use an equal amount of molasses.
These cookies have the texture of the hard, crisp gingersnaps you can buy in stores, but pack 10x the flavor and freshness. Fresh chopped ginger used in addition to dried ginger gives these cookies an extra burst of fresh ginger flavor.
In an innovative method, the butter is melted first. This cooks off some moisture, ensuring the cookies are as crisp as possible. You want to melt the butter over the stovetop until it is just at the line of beginning to brown. The low temperature at which they are cooked also helps make them hard.
You need to use about half an egg’s worth of egg whites for this recipe, which is about 1 tbsp. It will not harm the recipe if you are not super exact with this measurement. Simply crack open the egg, pour about half the egg white into the bowl, then add the yolk and discard the rest of the egg white. You can always measure out 1 tbsp of egg whites if you want to, but I never do.
When you first put the dough into the fridge, it will be fairly wet. Don’t worry, this is how it should be!
After you bake the cookies, make sure to let them cool at least 10 minutes. We have trouble with this step but it is crucial if you want that hard, snappy texture. They need to cool to set. If you eat them when they’re warm, they’ll still be delicious, but soft.
Thanks to Max Keisler for these photos! Unless otherwise specified, all photos on the blog are taken by him.
Extra-Crispy Gingersnaps (Pepparkakor)
dairy | makes 52 cookies, or 51 if you dropped one on the floor like me
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
scant 1/2 tsp salt
85g (about 6 tbsp) unsalted butter
1 tbsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne powder
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tbsp date syrup (silan)*
1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
1 egg yolk (from large egg) + 1 tbsp egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar (for coating)
Mix together flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, black pepper, and cayenne, and stir to combine.
Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat until melted. Turn the heat to low and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until butter is just starting to brown, about 3 – 4 minutes. Pour butter into a medium-sized bowl. Add brown sugar, date syrup, and chopped fresh ginger to melted butter and stir to combine. Crack egg and add about half the egg white (1 tbsp), plus the whole egg yolk, to the butter mixture. Discard the rest of the egg white. Stir until combined. Add the butter-egg mixture to the bowl with the flour-spices mixture. Mix until just combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and put in fridge until firm and chilled, about 1 hour.
Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Heat oven to 150 degrees C (about 300 F).
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Pour granulated sugar into a small bowl.
Take teaspoon-size amount of dough out and roll in your hands until a ball. Drop into the bowl with granulated sugar. Working in batches of 10 (or however many dough balls will fit), rolls doll balls in sugar until coated. Evenly space sugar-coated dough balls on baking sheets, 20 balls per sheet. Do not flatten the balls.
Place one sheet on upper rack and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, rotate this sheet of partially-booked cookies 180 degrees and move it to the lower rack. Place the second sheet of dough balls into the upper rack. Bake until cookies on lower tray have just begun to darken around the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes longer (the cookies will be in the oven for 25-27 minutes total). Remove lower rack of cookies and place, still on parchment paper, on wire rack to cool. Rotate upper sheet of partially-baked cookies 180 degrees and move to the lower rack. Keep baking these cookies until they’ve begun to darken at the edges, about 15-17 minutes more. Then remove and place on wire rack to cool. Wait at least 10 minutes for cookies to cool before eating.
*sub equal amount of molasses if date syrup unavailable