Sisters Tea Parlor Famous Gingersnap Cookies
I created this signature recipe for the opening of Sisters Tea Parlor back in 2007. To me, an afternoon tea needs a spicy little ginger cookie and I tweaked this recipe until it was perfect. These cookies are more of a molasses ginger cookie with its soft, chewy texture than a gingersnap that snaps when bitten into. The secret to that beloved texture is allowing the egg to warm to room temperature. Our gingersnap cookies are a perfect treat for those who enjoy a little spice with their sweet. These cookies are near perfection on their own, but our tea parlor servers often encouraged guests to try them with a dollop of our tangy Lemon Curd. Wow! These cookies also pair well with a cup of our signature Paris in a Teacup Black Tea or our delightfully fruity, naturally caffeine-free Mad Hatter's Curiosi-tea Tisane.Before starting your gingersnap dough, be sure to let both your butter and your egg come up to room temperature. If you keep your flour in the freezer, also let it come up to room temperature. Remember to be patient with your dough, this really is an easy recipe despite the long list of ingredients. Add each one and mix well to incorporate everything together. No one wants a big bite of baking soda in their cookie! These cookies are totally worth your time and your house is going to smell amazing while they’re baking in the oven. Expect your family to come running!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1/4 cup molasses
- granulated sugar for rolling
- Preheat oven to 375°F°. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set to the side.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, cinnamon and ground cloves. Mix these dry ingredients together well so that spices are completely blended. Set to the side.
- In the bowl of a large stand mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the room temperature egg and mix on low speed until mixture is blended and smooth. Add molasses and mix on low speed until it is well blended into the butter and sugar mixture.
- Add the dry ingredients, one large spoonful at a time; mix on low speed until flour is fully incorporated between each addition. Dough will begin to cling together into a ball on the beater when completed.
- Using a small cookie scoop, shape dough into 1" balls and roll in sugar. Place on prepared baking sheet about 2" apart.
- Bake cookies 9-10 minutes or until cookies are set in the middle and lightly browned around the edges.
These cookies were shrouded in a mystery for years and had me utterly stumped. It was as if my gingersnap recipe suffered from a split personality like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Not simply from the slight misnaming, but the exact recipe would yield soft, rounded cookies one time and flat, chewy cookies another. Both were yummy, but one possessed a cakey crumb and stood like little identical soldiers on the baking sheet. The other spread out large on the pan in unattractive shapes that were far from uniform. I tried everything I could think of to make this recipe consistent with no success. More flour, less flour. Check the humidity levels. Check for accurate measurements. Check for willy-nilly (shouldn’t we always be checking for willy-nilly? LOL). Still, the results were inconsistent cookies from batch to batch, no matter who was making the dough or whatever willy-nilly was uncovered. Then one fateful Christmas, I had the TV playing in the background while I was busy with holiday chores. I wanted something festive while I scurried about and thank goodness I did, because I heard it, I almost missed it, but I heard it. The narrator of a cookie special off-handedly advised that to attain craggy, chewy cookies, use room temperature eggs. That was it! How did I miss the egg for so many years? It made so much sense. Our little kitchen for the tea parlor was always a flurry of activity. Often we would start a recipe, like the gingersnap cookies, and get sidetracked by another more urgent need. That had to be that answer to my question. If someone began to make the gingersnap dough and pulled the eggs, but then stopped and started something else, the eggs had time to come up to room temperature. Obviously, that didn’t happen every time and so cold eggs sometimes went into the dough. Mystery solved. Boy, did I smack my head that day. So, now you know, too. Or, maybe you already knew and when you started reading about this little mystery, you knew the answer. Hey, we both know now and the cookie world is a better place. You’ll need two baking sheets for this recipe whether you choose to bake all the cookies during this session or not. I prefer to bake half of this recipe and freeze the other half. Well, actually, I double the recipe and then I bake half and freeze half. Have I ever mentioned that I have a BIG family at home still? More about going halfsies later–FYI, it’s a great trick and huge time saver. For now, line two baking sheets and set to the side. You’ll notice in my recipes that I regularly use parchment paper to line my baking pans. I find it protects their shiny surfaces. I would post a comparison picture of one of my old cookie sheets and a new cookie sheet that’s been protected by parchment, but it’s too embarrassing. Parchment works incredibly well to protect my newish pans. Not to mention it makes clean up a snap and that, folks, is my favorite reason for using parchment paper on my baking sheets. To begin the dough, first prepare the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Carefully, measure the flour using a dry measure measuring cup. This is important for accurate measurement of the flour. Scoop the measuring cup into your flour bag or jar–make sure there are no pockets of air inside the cup–and then scrape the excess flour off with the back of a knife. Using a liquid measuring cup to measure dry ingredients often results in compacting the flour which then results in adding too much of said flour. Once the flour is measured into the bowl, add the baking soda, salt, ground ginger, ground cinnamon and ground clove. Mix these dry ingredients together well so that spices are completely blended. Set to the side. Next, cream together the softened butter and the brown sugar in the bowl of a large stand mixer. Cream until light and fluffy. This will take about five minutes. Add the room temperature egg and mix on low speed until the cream mixture is well blended and smooth. Remember, it’s important for the egg to be room temperature to achieve rounded, uniform cookies with those delicious cracks that give a little chew to the bite. Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, this may take 30 minutes to an hour. I promise, your egg will not spoil in that amount of time. I would however, be sure to place the egg on a paper towel or small dish. I have successfully, “warmed” my eggs when I haven’t preplanned my cookie making. I just set my egg or eggs into a bowl deep enough to cover them with hot tap water. This method takes less than 10 minutes and is perfect for when I forget, I mean when I don’t preplan. Once the egg has been beaten into the creamed mixture, add the molasses and mix on low speed until it is thoroughly combined. Now, we’re on to the fun part! Add the dry ingredients one cup, or large spoonful, at a time; mix on low speed until fully incorporated. Repeat that step until all the flour and spice mixture is gone. Be sure to check the bottom of your mixing bowl for rogue flour that didn’t blend in. Use a spoon to press the dough downward then pull it back up and over with flour clinging to it. Let the beater bar of the mixer spin slowly to finish bringing that loose flour into the rest of the dough mixture. I must say, this dough will be somewhat stiff, but it’s a dream to work with. Before scooping, pour granulated sugar into a small dish. Using a standard size cookie scoop, shape dough into 1” balls and roll in sugar. TIP #1: We used this trick to make the process go faster at the Tea Parlor. Pour about one cup of sugar into a 3x4ish, flat bottomed dish or container. Scoop six dough balls and place in sugar. Don’t bother with rolling the dough into perfect little balls. Just scoop and drop into the sugar. Roll the container back and forth to jostle the balls around in the loose sugar. This should cover them pretty well. Place the sugared balls flat-side down on the baking sheet about 2″ apart. Scooping, not shaping and rolling more than one at a time moves things along a lot more quickly. Work smarter, not harder is my motto! Once all the dough is scooped, rolled in sugar and placed on the pan, bake 9-10 minutes or until cookies are set in the middle and lightly browned around the edges. Your kitchen is going to smell heavenly! Allow the cookies to cool slightly before removing from the baking sheet. They will be soft and oh, so tempting, but let them cool completely. Once cool, eat one and transfer the rest to an airtight container. Who doesn’t love a homemade cookie right out of the oven? My family sure does, but making a fresh batch of cookies every few days doesn’t fit into my busy schedule. The solution that keeps me from stocking up on pre-made cookie dough from the dairy aisle? I make a double batch of dough, scoop all of it, bake half and freeze half. Instead of freezing all the dough balls together, I package according to the amount I would bake at one time, giving me three or four bags of future cookies. I prefer quart size freezer bags and am careful to remove as much air as possible using a straw. It’s almost as good as vacuum-packed and I always wash and reuse the bags. It’s a great method for my family and helps answer that infamous question of “got anything sweet?” Yes, yes, I do and it’s all thanks to Tip #2! TIP #2: Always have freshly baked cookies at your fingertips! Scoop dough into 1” balls and roll liberally in sugar. Place the balls close together, almost touching, on a parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze, unbaked, until frozen through—this might take a couple of hours. Once frozen, transfer the dough balls to a freezer storage bag. Being sure to squeeze out as much air as possible, seal, then date and label the bag. To bake, simply pull the dough from the freezer, place on a baking sheet and bake at 375°F for 10-11 minutes. No thawing needed! Cookie dough may be frozen up to one month if stored in a freezer storage bag and up to six months if wrapped in freezer paper and placed in an airtight container or vacuum sealed bag.