Katy’s Ginger Snaps — AKA “Heroin Cookies”

by Katy on December 6, 2012 · 27 comments

Henry Ford may have invented the assembly line, but I perfected it.

This recipe is my very favorite cookie both to eat and to bake. They are easy and steer clear of expensive ingredients, which is my kind of cookie. The fact that my husband calls them “Heroin Cookies” should give you some indication of how addictive they are. They also travel well when sent across country and seem to get better when they’re a few days old.

Do not replace the margarine with butter, as this causes the cookies to spread out too far, and make sure to thoroughly chill the dough, even between batches.

Katy’s Ginger Snaps
Cream together:
  • 3/4 cup of margarine at room temperature (butter makes the cookies spread out too much and ruins the texture)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
Add dry ingredients to the wet until well mixed:
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp ginger
Put cookie dough in the refrigerator to chill. This is also important so they don’t spread out too much while cooking. (I will often chill the dough overnight.)
Scoop out a heaping Tbsp of the dough and roll into a ball. Roll in a sugar/ginger mix. (Maybe 1/4 cup sugar to 1-1/2 Tbsp ginger.)
Place on a cookie sheet and mark with an “X” using a fork.
Cook at 325 degrees for 8-9 minutes. They’re done when the tops are no longer shiny. It’s better to err on the side of undercooking so they’re nice and soft.

 

This recipe doubles well. I buy my spices in bulk, which is much fresher, (and cheaper!) than the little bottles from the grocery store.
The ability to cook and even bake from regular and inexpensive ingredients is a great life skill. Anyone can cook a gourmet meal from swanky ingredients, but it takes true skill and artistry to concoct something wonderful from the nuts and bolts of pantry staples.

What are your favorite recipes made from seemingly mundane ingredients? Please share them in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Megyn @Unstuffed December 6, 2012 at 9:25 am

I do a lot of vegan baking, and people are often surprised that I use “normal” ingredients. One of my most sought after recipes is for a vegan chocolate cake. The secret is that I use distilled white vinegar instead of eggs 🙂

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Katy December 6, 2012 at 9:36 am

I have used soy flour to substitute for eggs in baked goods, but have not heard of using vinegar.

However, it does affect the taste, so it better to use in recipes that spread it out like cakes.

Katy

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Megyn @Unstuffed December 6, 2012 at 9:41 am

I’ve never had the vinegar affect the taste (used it in sweet breads, cakes, etc.). However, you’re right that it should only be used on things meant to expand quite a bit. For cookies, I use Ener-G egg replacer. I really prefer to NOT use eggs due to their price…and the fact that I can safely eat batter/dough with no worries (I actually just make cookie dough in the summer & feed our boys “cookie balls”, so I don’t have to heat up the house) 🙂

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Linda in Indiana December 6, 2012 at 9:37 am

Megyn, I have a mild egg allergy….what ratio do you use for vinegar to replace eggs? I would love to be able to do this!

The ginger snaps sound awesome…I am looking forward to baking ( and trying:) them Very Soon!

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Megyn @Unstuffed December 6, 2012 at 9:44 am

It only works in baked goods that use baking soda as the vinegar reacts, forming carbon dioxide which forms bubbles, causing the batter to expand. The general rule is 1tsp baking soda to 1 tbsp vinegar 🙂

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Queen Lucia December 6, 2012 at 10:27 am

This recipe is almost exactly like mine, and they are like CRACK! I can’t bake them very often, because I will literally eat every single one. I also like my snaps soft rather than…snappy. But Gingersofts don’t have the same ring.

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Sara December 6, 2012 at 10:28 am

What is the minimum amount of time for chilling the dough?

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Katy December 6, 2012 at 11:13 am

I chill it until it’s evenly cold. Sometimes I’ll put it in a Ziploc bag squished flat and put it in the fridge or freezer.

Katy

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Another Rebecca December 6, 2012 at 10:48 am

I make peanut butter cookies with just 3 ingredients : peanut butter, powdered sugar and a jar of marshmallow fluff. They are our family’s personal Crack Cookie.

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Megan December 6, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Yum! Can you provide specifics on amount of PNB and sugar? Baking time? THANK YOU!!! I can’t wait to try the Ginger Snaps too Katy… my kids have been wanting to make some.

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Another Rebecca December 7, 2012 at 5:56 am

1c. of PB, either chunky or smooth, 1/2c. of powdered sugar, and 1c. of marshmellow fluff. Sometimes I add the whole jar of fluff, which is slightly more than a cup and add a little more sugar. Stir to combine. roll into balls and bake 7 to 8 min at 350. these are very soft when they first come out of the oven, so let them sit on the pan for a minute or two and gently remove with a spatula and let fully cool.

They only slightly get golden on the bottom, but everyone loves them!

At Christmas I dip the cooled cookies in Chocolate, and the unbaked mix can be used in Chocolate dipped peanut butter balls. You can also sub in another nut butter if you have a peanut allergy.

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Annie December 6, 2012 at 12:10 pm

When canned beans go on sale I make my “Five Bean and Then Some Salad.” (You can use dried beans if you want, just prepare them such that you have about 15 ounces of each type ready to eat.)

5-15 ounce cans of various types of beans, (pink, black, red kidney, whichever you like…)
1-11 ounce can of white shoepeg corn
1-green pepper, diced
1-medium red onion, diced
1-bottle of your favorite Italian dressing, ( I usually make a bottle of Good Seasons and use really good olive oil and white balsamic vinegar.)

Thoroughly rinse and drain the beans. Drain the corn. In a large glass or plastic bowl, mix together the first four ingredients. Pour the entire bottle of dressing over the mixture, (the beans will soak it up), and toss to coat the mixture. Cover and let sit in the fridge for at least two hours, overnight would be even better.

Some tips:
My mom accidentally used a can of Mexicorn once and it gave it a tasty Southwestern kick.
This recipe makes a lot so it’s great as a party snack with tortilla chips.
You can add some chopped jalapenos if you like more of a kick.

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Terri December 6, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Oh, I needed some dairy-free, nut-free foods, soy-free to make for our Christmas Party, I think I’m going to try this one! 🙂 Thansk!

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Linda in Indiana December 6, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Something I make that is super simple: fruit dip which contains an 8 ounce container of sour cream and a tablespoon of brown sugar stirred in. Once in awhile I will add either a teaspoon of apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice. This time of the year it is nice to have some fresh fruit to counteract all the wonderful and tempting baked goods. I usually have the ingredients on hand. It is also good served with vanilla wafers And! I bet those gingersnaps would cozy up to it really well! I think I will have to find out:)

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Lisa S December 6, 2012 at 6:21 pm

It gets better after a few days?! I have a hard time believing that cookies can last that long. I have two girls and any cookies I make are gone by the next day.

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Jessica Wolk-Stanley December 6, 2012 at 8:52 pm

I will attest to the wonderfulness of these cookies. They are the BEST. They are also tastiest if they are slightly undercooked, so that they are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

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marie December 6, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Okay, now I’m hungry.
My favorite for xmas is cheesecake! Make your cheesecake batter. Put an Oreo cookie or Dollar Tree knock-off cookie in a cupcake liner in a cupcake pan. Pour in cheesecake batter. Bake for about 20 minutes, perfection!!!

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Mary Kate December 7, 2012 at 9:17 am

I always use butter and the cookies are delicious. I also don’t chill the batter, I just use a scoop with a spring-loaded handle.

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Sweta December 7, 2012 at 12:12 pm

This is non sequitor, but do you ever read the blog http://www.mrmoneymustache.com? I think you would like it because he shares a lot of your non consumer/frugality views.

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Laura December 7, 2012 at 9:35 pm

I have the same recipe (have had it for nearly 40 years!) with the same instruction to use margarine and chill well, but I want to try your addition of ginger with the sugar to roll the dough balls in before baking. This recipe is the one I take to parties, cookie swaps, etc. and I always get asked for the recipe.

More addictive in our home than ginger snaps: Oatmeal Shortbread. When supplies are running low, I can usually always still make these: Blend together 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 2/3 cup quick cooking oatmeal, 2/3 cup brown sugar and 1 cup softened margarine. Press dough into a buttered 10″ x 15″ jellyroll pan, and bake for 45 minutes at 300 degrees. Cut into squares while the cookies are still warm. If you have some extra chocolate chips, put them on the cookies right when they come out of the oven; let set for about 3 minutes, then spread the chocolate over the cookies. Cut immediately into squares, then cool before eating. You cannot eat just one.

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Chrissy December 9, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Just made these this afternoon, absolutely delicious and yes appropriately nicknamed 🙂

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Melanie December 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm

I want to make gingerbread cookies this year and decorate them. I saw this and was wondering if this recipe could be used for that. I have never made ginger snaps/cookies so I’m not sure if there is any difference. Any suggestions?

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Katy December 14, 2012 at 6:01 pm

I once tried to use this recipe to roll out cookies, and it did not work.

Katy

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Betty Winslow January 5, 2013 at 8:01 am

My favorite “from the contents of the pantry & freezer recipe is:

Southwestern Chicken

2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 28-30 oz. jar salsa (I use mild)
1 lb. can of corn or bag of frozen corn (lower sodium)
1-2 1 lb. can of black beans
1-2 cans chicken stock (I use a 32 oz box of unsalted, from Kitchen Basics)

Place chicken in bottom of slower cooker. Drain and rinse beans and corn. pour on top of meat. Add salsa. Pour in stock. Cook on high 4 hours or low 6, or until meat is done. Remove chicken, shred, return to pot. Serve over rice, as soup, or (drained) in tortillas. Yum!! Leftovers freeze well.

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Sarah February 28, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Is the “X” on the cookie supposed to do something constructive or is it just there for decoration? 🙂

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Katy February 28, 2013 at 5:11 pm

It smooshes it down from being a ball shape. Like peanut butter cookies.

Katy

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Lexie July 30, 2015 at 3:30 pm

We make these annually too! We use Crisco instead of margarine. I can never get enough of them and have to actively hide some from my husband or reach into an empty cookie tin the day after I bake them!

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