Last year I attempted writing a book about my food heritage. My mom is Latvian and my dad’s family came from England. For the English portion of my culinary journey I bought England’s Heritage Cookbook. I had great success with the cooking portion of the book but the only dessert recipe I tried ended up going to the crows. Still, I was not sure if it was my fault or the recipe’s so the other day I attempted their Ginger Snap Cookies. I could not taste the ginger and the cookies did not fan out the way they were supposed to. Yes, they are pretty but they are hard as rock and flavourless. What did I do wrong? Any ideas?
The only gingersnap cookies I have ever made were for Anna Olson’s Gingersnap Crust for her Coconut Pie. They were made like a traditional cookie: cream the butter, add the sugar, then the flavourings (she used a lot more) and then mix in the dry ingredients. For this recipe you melted 1/2 cup of butter with 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of golden corn syrup. How interesting, I thought! Once melted, leave to cool for a little while.
In the meantime I sifted 2 cups of flour with 2 tsp of ground ginger and 1 tsp of baking soda. I added it to the melted mixture to form a soft dough.
I put them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and flattened with a spatula. I put them in a 350F oven for 10 minutes and cooled them on a rack:
If you click here you can see a photograph of the cookbook and what the cookies should look like when they come out of the oven. Mine look anemic and too thick in comparison. Although my husband with his super tastebuds could taste the ginger, I could not. Perhaps my ginger was too old? I admit, I can not remember when I bought it so I shall get a new container of dried ginger. The recipe did not call for molasses, cinnamon or cloves so perhaps that is why they had no flavour? There just were not enough flavourings for me to taste? And why did they turn out so hard and thick that they were almost inedible? They ended up being more like bricks than a tasty treat!
Have you had success making gingersnaps? Would you mind sharing the recipe with me? I think it would help me figure out what went wrong. Do you think it was melting some of the ingredients together? Have you done that before and the cookies turned out? I would love to hear your suggestions, comments and ideas on what went wrong.
Jennifer Schildknecht says
I’m sending you my own personal recipe!
Debra She Who Seeks says
A “real” gingersnap is supposed to be rock hard so they can be dunked in tea or milk. Ginger cookies have the same flavour but are softer, more like a traditional cookie. But whether snap or cookie, they must have flavour! My Mom’s ginger cookie recipe calls for sweetened molasses, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. If your recipe only calls for ginger — not sufficient!
Suzie Ridler says
Thanks for the recipe Jennifer, I am definitely going to try them!
Debra, these cookies were so tough and thick that dunking them did not help much! I’m talking about bricks, LOL. Interesting that that is the difference between a snap and a cookies, makes sense. Thank you for that and wow, those cookies of your Mom’s sound great and you’re right, there just were not enough spices!
1/2 cup of butter and 1/2 sugar per 2 cups of flour for cookies seems a little too little. Make something from CI instead. Anna’s recipes usually have a high failure rate for me…
It’s definitely the recipe Suzie, not you! I don’t think there is enough spice, and no molasses? I think I might have a tasty recipe I made last year, I just need to remember where I put it, when I do find it, I’ll be sure to pass it along, in the meantime, I guess your crows or raccoons(?) are going to have a little treat. It’s time to raid the stash of those oatmeal choc. chip cookies from your freezer.
Definitely not enough spices, and the no molasses bit confuses me. Are English gingersnaps supposed to be different? They are supposed to ‘snap’, but I don’t think hard as bricks is very good. That problem lies in the fat. Maybe it’s the melted butter?
I do have the ginger cookie recipe for the cookies they sell at the bakery. I’ll scale it down (it’s meant to mass produce) and email it to you.
No, the gingersnaps over here are not different. They should be darker and hard but snappy. I’m not big fan so don’t have a recipe for you but I don’t think it’s you that has the problem, it does sound like the recipe is flawed.