15 Oct

Recipe: Ginger Unsnaps


If you’re going to have a guy writhing in ecstasy over a cookie in your book, the decent thing to do is post the recipe (or so I’ve heard).

The molasses-spice cookies I grew up with, which I had always known as gingersnaps, were soft and chewy.

I was greatly distressed the first time someone outside my family offered me a gingersnap and handed me a hard, dry, flat thing I feared would break my teeth. Apparently, the latter is what is accepted by the general public to be a gingersnap.

So that anyone I offered a molasses-spice cookie in the future would not be misled into thinking I would hand them a teething biscuit, I scribbled out “Gingersnaps” at the top of the old family recipe and wrote “Ginger Unsnaps.”


Ginger Unsnaps

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1¼ teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup of molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of butter, melted and cooled
  • Additional granulated sugar for rolling (approximately 1/4 cup)

Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and sugars together until blended. Add Molasses, egg, vanilla, and butter; mix until blended. Let dough rest for 20 minutes, covered, at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in additional sugar. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until cookies are set around the edges and the cracks no longer appear wet. Let cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheet. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Makes approximately 29 cookies.


  • I buy light and dark brown sugar and mix them together in the canister, thereby creating medium brown sugar, which I use in all my recipes calling for brown sugar. If you choose not to do that, use your choice of either dark or light. It won’t make a substantial difference from my in-between baseline.
  • I’ve actually started using all brown sugar (1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup brown, NO white except for the rolling sugar) and encourage everyone to do so because it’s that much more flavorful, but I’ve read enough comments on recipe sites to know a significant portion of the recipe-commenting population has reading comprehension problems and will understand neither two listings for brown sugar nor “1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup brown sugar” (I DIDNT KNOW ID HAVE TO DO CALCULUS TO MAKE COOKIES AND I DONT HAVE A 2/7 MEASURING SPOON!!!), so it’s posted the traditional way, and you can modify to your comfort level.
  • Letting the dough rest for 20 minutes gives the melted butter a chance to cool more so the dough is firmer. This step isn’t absolutely necessary, but if you skip it, you’ll notice your first batch of dough balls slumping before you even get them in the oven, and those cookies will spread more than the second batch that rested while the first was baking. If you want all your cookies to be consistent in shape and size, do the resting. The dough doesn’t have to go in the refrigerator; being cold will just make it harder to scoop, and they’ll take longer to cook.
  • “1-inch balls” is a throwback to the original recipe. I use a level 1-tablespoon scoop to portion my balls and have not measured the diameter of the resultant balls. My balls take 9 minutes in the oven and produce 2¾-inch cookies. If your balls are a little bigger, they’ll take longer to finish; if your balls are a little smaller, they’ll be done faster. But remember, it’s not the size of the balls — it’s what you do with them.
  • I currently line my baking sheets with parchment every time I use them, but that started just in the past few years. I’m pretty sure these previously turned out fine plunking them straight onto an ungreased sheet, should you lack parchment.
  • If you have leftover rolling sugar (which you probably will — it doesn’t take much to coat the balls, but they’re easier to roll if you use a generous amount of sugar), you don’t have to throw it away. It’s still good, just ever-so-slightly spiced. Throw it back in the canister. Put it in your coffee. Add extra spice and sprinkle it on French toast or crepes or doughnuts or whatever else you’d use cinnamon-and-sugar on.
  • If I’m not feeding a crowd, I keep however many cookies I think I’ll eat in a couple of days in a zipper bag on the counter and store the rest in the freezer. I take them out as the need to restock arises, let them thaw, and they’re good as new.
  • Serving suggestion as per What Comes After Dessert: make a sandwich with two cookies and a marshmallow, nuke for a few seconds (8 is the magic number in my microwave), and squish.


(The goo in the picture is marshmallow crème because I didn’t have marshmallows in the house. Melted marshmallows taste much better and are strongly recommended over goo from a jar.)

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