Gingersnap cookies are very popular all throughout Europe and America. They are cookies that have their roots in Dutch, German and English ginger cookies that were originally pressed with a “stamp”. They were first created in Lebkuchen, Germany around 1296. It is believed they were created by the Medieval monks in Frankovia, Germany as Christmas cookies, and their popularity spread from there. Gingersnaps were named from the German or Middle Dutch word snappen, meaning “to seize quickly.
Gingersnaps are the popular snack based American biscuit which is flavored with ginger. Gingersnaps are known by various names such as Ginger biscuits and Ginger nuts in other parts of the world. In reality gingersnaps are improvised version of gingerbread cookies. Gingersnaps are normally prepared as round shaped cookies. Gingersnaps are mostly prepared in varying thickness. In the US and UK this thickness varies between 3mm and 6mm. In Scandinavia gingersnaps or pepparkakor are also known as ginger thins. These ginger thins are rolled thin and are even crispier than their American counterparts. The pepparkakor are often prepared in decorative shapes and are more spiced than their American counterparts. In America the gingersnaps are prepared with prominent cracks on the top. Normally molasses, brown sugar, and ground spices (cloves, ginger and cinnamon) are used in the preparation of gingersnaps. The gingersnaps turn crispier when they are baked for longer time. What is the difference between molasses cookies and gingersnaps? They are the exact same base dough with molasses and ginger, but molasses cookies are soft and chewy and gingersnaps are historically crispy and crunchy, hence the “snap”.
Today, there is some form of ginger cookie found all over the world, with many different varieties and recipes. As you know, right now, it is fall in the United States, and fall means pumpkins, lots and lots of pumpkins. I found a recipe for pumpkin gingersnaps that I just had to make. They were so good too.
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar + more for rolling the cookies in
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/4 cup molasses
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350* F or about 180* C.
Combine the dry ingredients well and set aside.
Mix the butter and sugar together until creamy, then add the egg and mix again. Next add the vanilla, molasses and pumpkin and mix together thoroughly, then add the flour mixture 1/2 at a time, mixing in between. Don’t over mix or you will have tough cookies.
Once the dough is ready, form into round balls then roll into sugar. I like more flattened cookies than rounded cookies, so I usually press them lightly to flatten them out a bit. I also “double dipped” them in sugar. Once I pressed them, I dipped them in the sugar once again for another sugar coating. Place the cookies on a cookie sheet spacing them about 2 inches apart.
Bake for about 13-15 minutes or until done, and allow them to cool slightly before gobbling them all up. You actually are looking for a slight crack on the tops of the cookies, at least with the American version.
I loved the subtle flavors of the pumpkin and molasses combined with the ginger. Everything just comes together so well and taste oh so good. Good luck with eating just one. I bet you can’t. 🙂
Happy Halloween. Stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.