Early morning temperatures in Atlanta this Labor Day weekend have been in the mid-50s. It is always with bridled enthusiasm that we enjoy these first whispers of Fall, because around here we all know that the temperatures could climb back into the mid-90s before you know it. In Atlanta, Summer usually rears his hot, humid head at least one more time before the end of September.
But that doesn’t mean that we can’t pretend like Fall is here to stay. And nothing makes a more perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee on a cool morning than a homemade cookie, adorned with the flavors of Fall. Our favorite Fall cookie in the shoe box: ginger snap.
The ginger snap cookie has quite a history in the shoe box, actually. Just one year ago, one of us made a fresh batch of ginger snap cookies in an attempt to impress the other, inviting her over to the shoe box (before it was called the shoe box) for cookies, tea, and conversation. As the legend goes, she was quite taken by the cookies and by the gentleman, himself. Maybe it was the engaging conversation; maybe it was just the magic of Fall spices. Either way, ginger snaps carry with them a certain nostalgic value around here. But we digress . . .
(yes, we totally stole this ingredient photo layout idea from food52)
The spices in these cookies just make you happy. Even if you don’t have a cheesy courting story to associate with, we imagine that everyone must have some fond memory or at least warm feeling that is evoked by the aromas of cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, and clove. You can’t make these ginger snaps without ending up in a good mood.
So here we go. This recipe is almost verbatim from Shirley Corriher’s BakeWise – we just like to use turbinado instead of white sugar, and we add allspice.
Ginger Snap Cookies
- 2 cups turbinado sugar, divided
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
- 1 large egg
- 2 1/4 cups bleached all-purpose flour (we use King Arthur)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoon allspice
Set the butter and egg out on the counter so that they can start coming closer to room temperature. In the meantime, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and freshly grated nutmeg (we use a microplane to grate the nutmeg).
After the butter and egg have set out for about half an hour, dump 1 3/4 cups of the sugar (reserve the balance of the sugar for later) and the butter into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until fluffy.
Add the molasses and beat to blend well.
Add the egg and beat on low just to blend.
Now start adding the sifted dry ingredients and blend on lowest speed until everything is well combined.
Scoop the dough out into a sealable container (we use a 1 gallon Ziplock bag) and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
When you are ready to make the cookies, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and take the balance of the turbinado sugar and pour it onto a large dinner plate or some other flat surface that will allow you to roll the balls of dough in the sugar.
Roll the dough in between your hands into balls that are a little over an inch in diameter (about the size of a foosball). Then roll each ball through the sugar to coat the entire surface.
Place the dough balls on the parchment paper covered cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart, and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 12 minutes, or until the edges just start to brown.
When they come out of the oven, they will still be very soft – allow them to rest on the cookie sheet for about a minute or so before using a spatula to transfer them to a cooling rack. As they cool they will become more crisp and hold their shape.
Although the flavor of these ginger snaps is just divine, perhaps their best quality is their texture: crispy and crackly on the outside, but still chewy and tender on the inside.
This batch finished up just in time for us to put them in a container and take them across the street to our neighbors, who were cooking dinner for us last night (deliciously grilled ribs, baked potatoes, and fresh vegetables). After dinner these ginger snaps made for the perfect pre-Fall dessert as we sat outside on yet another crisp, cool night. It was even chilly enough for a sweater.
Could Fall really be here? We can’t get our hopes up. But bake some of these cookies and you’ll feel like pulling the sweaters out of your closet.