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The Best Gingersnaps

Double or triple this recipe around the holidays and have several rolls of these icebox cookies on hand in the freezer to bake on the spur of the moment. They are irresistible served with espresso, tea or hot spiced cider, or packed into tins for gift giving.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room
      temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar, plus about 5 Tbs. sugar for
      dusting tops
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup molasses

Directions:

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and 2/3 cup sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, egg yolk and molasses, mixing well. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, beating until each addition is fully blended. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Place the chilled dough on a piece of plastic wrap and shape it into a rough log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the log in the plastic wrap and roll it back and forth until the surface of the log is smooth and even. Refrigerate the roll for 2 hours or freeze for up to 2 months.

Preheat an oven to 375°F. Lightly oil 3 baking sheets.

Remove the roll from the refrigerator or freezer and unwrap it. Cut it into slices 1/8 inch thick and place them 1 inch apart on the baking sheets. Sprinkle each of the tops with 1/2 tsp. sugar.

If using 1 oven, place 2 baking sheets at a time in the oven; refrigerate the remaining sheet until ready to bake. Bake the cookies until golden around the edges but still soft, 8 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies and 10 to 12 minutes for crisp cookies; switch the pans halfway through the baking time. Using a spatula, immediately transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Makes about 30 cookies.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Seasonal Celebration Series, Winter, by Joanne Weir (Time-Life Books, 1997).