Holly B’s Gingersnap Cookies

November 11, 2009


So here is something I have not told you all yet.  I have stopped cooking for my clients.  I no longer describe myself as a personal chef.  It started this past summer when our schedules were not aligning well and I decided it made sense to take a break until the fall.  Truthfully, I was glad to have the break.  I started my business when Graham was 18 months old and I cooked for my clients through my second pregnancy, nursing, and sleepless nights.  I cooked reliably and without a break (except for vacation) through the three most exhausting and challenging years of my life.

I loved having my business.  I loved the creativity and loved feeding people.  I know there are many of you out there who dream of being able to do what I did and I have gotten emails telling me so.  I know I was very fortunate to be able to follow my passion in the way that I did.  I just got burnt out.  It wasn’t the cooking or the feeding people, it was the menu planning, shopping, and stressing about finding the time to cook to the standard that I held myself.  My boys have always napped reliably and I have spent almost every single nap of their lives rushing around my kitchen like a mad woman.

Not that much has changed.  There is always something I am cooking for.  My visions of sitting on the couch eating bon bons while reading War and Peace are just that – visions.  I figure I’ll spend another year attempting to relax and then will probably dive back into the world of personal cheffing when my big boy goes to kindergarten next fall.

Randy would tell you the downside to me not being a personal chef anymore is the lack of cookies in our house.  Once a week, when I brought my clients dinner, I would also bring them a treat (hence the name of this blog).  Often those treats were cookies and we always had the leftovers in our cookie jar.  I am still baking plenty but not as many cookies.  Randy complains regularly about this fact.  So, I chose to make one of his favorite kinds – this time from Holly B.

I find Gingersnaps and all the other cookies that fall into the spicy molasses world to be a bit elusive.  I want the perfect one and I have never found it.  Chewy but not gooey.  Crisp around the edges, soft in the middle.  Really spicy and not too sweet.  Rich molasses flavor but not bitter.  Does that cookie exist?

This cookie is pretty close.  Flavor-wise it’s exactly what I want.  Just the right amount of spice with a strong molasses tang coming through.  For me, the texture is a little off, maybe just a bit too cakey and with too much puff.  Still, it’s a good recipe until I find my dream one.  Do you have a perfect gingersnap?  Care to share?

You can buy Holly’s cookbook by visiting this site.


One Year Ago:  Miso Carrot Sauce

Gingersnap Cookies

With Love & Butter
Makes a lot of cookies

3/4 stick butter, at room temperature
1/2 stick margarine, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, plus more for coating
1 1/4 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. molasses
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
5 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. ground ginger
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. allspice

Preheat the oven to 375 F with the rack in the top position.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or grease lightly.

In the bowl of an electric mixer cream together the  butter, margarine, sugars, and molasses.  Add the eggs and egg yolk, mixing well.  Now add the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices and combine thoroughly, scraping the sides of the bowl several times with a rubber spatula.

Plop mounded teaspoonfuls of dough into a shallow bowl filled with about 1 cup of granulated sugar.  (DT: I made my cookies bigger and used a medium sized ice cream scoop.)  Roll the dough in the sugar until totally coated and shaped into a ball.  Space the balls 1 1/2 inches apart on the baking sheets, flattening the top of each cookie slightly with your fingers.

One pan at a time, bake the cookies for 5 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for 5 to 9 minutes.  The cookies will be done when they settle after puffing up.  If you like your gingersnaps extra crisp, bake a little longer.  Cool, then store in a container with a tight-fitting lid.


  1. I always made gingersnaps with my Mum when I was little- I think she was convinced that they were the “healthiest” home-baked treat for us. The recipe we used was from the Canadian Mennonite cookbook, “Food that Really Schmecks” (the Peach and Blueberry Pie on my blog is also from there). They looked very similar to yours, but I don’t really remember the texture!

    Comment by Ele — November 11, 2009 @ 7:58 am

  2. Hmmm, wonder why the butter/margarine combo? Regardless, these cookies look amazing. I’ve been craving gingerbread something fierce lately (it’s the weather) and I’ll save this recipe for later.

    Comment by kickpleat — November 11, 2009 @ 8:30 am

  3. I have a couple favorites, since molasses cookies are some of my favorites. The molasses spice cookies in Dorie Greenspan’s book are pretty darned fabulous, especially if you pump up the spices (like I always do), and my great grandma’s are also pretty special. That one might be due to nostalgia though :) These look wonderful, despite my aversion to cakey cookies!

    Comment by Caitlin — November 11, 2009 @ 12:33 pm

  4. I am glad you feel free from you old job.
    Love the cookies and what a beautiful photo

    Comment by Leslie — November 11, 2009 @ 1:20 pm

  5. Everyone needs a break , even from following their passion – your passion is not lost , just on hiatus . The cookies look great – I personally make ginger cookies from an Ina Garten recipe and they are DELICIOUS – I will email you the details when I find the recipe ( just cannot remember which of her cookbooks has the recipe).

    Enjoy your “hiatus” because I cannot see you being out of the kitchen too long !I hope you keep the blog and the recipes going …. I really enjoy reading it !!!


    Comment by Dimitra Alexakos — November 11, 2009 @ 1:25 pm

  6. Good for you to know when to move on, Holly! It takes courage to know when to do so and now, here you are, on to another phase.
    We love ginger snaps and I have experienced the same elusiveness as you. I like it when the spices linger just a little longer than the bite and I will try these soon. That is an interesting combination of butter and margarine.

    Comment by Penny — November 11, 2009 @ 1:26 pm

  7. I don’t bake much, but I have been doing quite a bit lately. The gingersnap is one I’ve yet to try my hand at. I appreciate having a well tested recipe to start with!

    Comment by The Ordinary Vegetarian — November 11, 2009 @ 4:25 pm

  8. Ahhh, I’m so confused! To me a molasses cookie is really soft and a ginger snap is crisp and ‘snappy’ (and may or may not contain molasses, I think.) I think these are molasses cookies to me. They certainly look beautiful – I love the cracks.

    Comment by Hilary — November 11, 2009 @ 7:40 pm

  9. I’m just a fiend for anything with ginger, but I’ve got to work on my kid (gave her gingersnaps last night, which received the review “These cookies are too spicy. Dey hurt my mouf” followed by a request for more cookies. Maybe there’s hope for her yet. Will have to try these.

    Comment by Kate @ Savour Fare — November 11, 2009 @ 7:50 pm

  10. The flavor here sounds perfect. I love molasses and lots of ginger in a ginger cookie. I don’t have the perfect recipe you seek, but I look forward to reading about it when you find it!

    Comment by lisaiscooking — November 11, 2009 @ 7:51 pm

  11. Nothing wrong with taking a break- when you’re ready to go back you’ll feel refreshed and raring to go.
    Love this gingersnap- important that they are sticky inside and crunchy outside.

    Comment by Barbara — November 11, 2009 @ 8:06 pm

  12. love spicy gingersnaps, but can’t say I’ve ever made them. I like the crispy ones from Trader Joes broken up over ice cream or greek yogurt. I am glad you have given yourself some time to recharge from the cheffing, I know it gets exhausting.

    Comment by Sara — November 12, 2009 @ 5:39 pm

  13. Every December I bake gingersnaps cookies. They are a favorite in the house. Thanks for this new recipe to me.

    Comment by Hélène — November 13, 2009 @ 5:07 am

  14. Hi Dana I happened on your blog when I typed in savory galettes in a search engine, then realized you are referenced on inpraiseofleftovers. I think it’s great to take a break as I have two little ones and I would be frazzled even though I love to bake & cook. I do have a great gingersnap recipe that made me love gingersnaps. It’s on my blog, here’s the link:

    Comment by Kamille — November 13, 2009 @ 5:50 am

  15. Good for you Dana. I hope you can find some extra time in your schedule just for yourself. You are definitely an inspiration to me. Thank you for all of the wonderful posts you share with us. Each and every recipe looks delicious. My favorite that I have tried thus far is the Southwestern Sweet Potato Gratin. It’s so incredibly good.

    Comment by Katie Lang — November 14, 2009 @ 12:02 am

  16. Guess what we are doing? We are eating these warm, delicious, snappy cookies and the house smells wonderful, or so I was told as hubby came in the door from working outside. He’s sitting beside me in our library with a cup of coffee and has the look of a Cheshire cat.

    Thank you, Dana, for sharing this recipe. It’s a home run.

    Comment by Penny — November 14, 2009 @ 11:22 pm

  17. Mmm love gingersnap cookies. I think you saw the one I posted about recently which I’d definitely recommend trying: http://www.eatmedelicious.com/2009/10/ginger-spice-cookies.html

    Comment by Ashley — November 15, 2009 @ 7:03 pm

  18. I have definitely NOT found the perfect gingersnap cookie recipe, and my Mom and I are always talking about this dilemma. My theory is that only a commercial oven can get the results I dream about. I like them dense, chewy, relatively flat, only crispy at the very, very outer edges. If I find them, you’ll be the first to know :)

    Comment by The Leftoverist — November 16, 2009 @ 5:55 am

  19. I was raised on gingersnaps that are how you describe your ideal ones–to me anyway. Everyone who has ever had them loves them. I can tell from your pics they are denser and darker–and I suspect chewier. The sugar on the outside gives some crispness–whether it is as much as you want I don’t know. They have less ginger but pack a wallop with cloves. I would not normally post a link, but since you asked I hope it is ok:


    Comment by Laura — November 17, 2009 @ 1:56 am

  20. […] but have yet to zero in on one idea. Should I tackle a tasty and impressive candy? A favourite holiday cookie? Or go for something healthier, and make my signature granola? If you’ve got any suggestions, […]

    Pingback by Framed Veg – A cooking blog - Kitchenist — December 13, 2009 @ 5:39 pm

  21. Hi! I was wondering, do you like this cookie better than the ‘Ultimate Ginger Cookie’ from December, 2008? On one hand this is from Holly B, though the title of Ultimate makes me wonder. But then it has no butter sooo…. :P

    Thank you so much for both recipes, it is such a pleasure to see your name pop up in my inbox!

    Comment by Natasha — February 29, 2012 @ 10:39 am

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