Cheap Eats — Katy's Ginger Snaps

by Katy on February 4, 2009 · 12 comments

Ginger Snaps
I love food. There’s just no two ways about it. But if I had to choose between a great meal with a mediocre dessert and a mediocre meal with a great dessert, I’d definitely go with the great dessert.


What can I say? I like the sweets. It’s who I am, and it’s also how I express my love.

Do me a favor and I’m likely to bake you a thank you gift.  

A Compact friend had mailed me a large box of brand new rocker-dude T-shirts that arrived on December 24th, that pretty much saved Christmas. She wouldn’t accept any monetary compensation, so I decided I would make sure to mail her some homemade cookies. And not just any cookies, my famous ginger snaps.

 I like this recipe for two reasons. One, they are so delicious as to be heroin-like in their addictiveness. Two, because all the ingredients are pretty much shelf staples. There are no chocolate chips, nuts, or other fiddly and often expensive ingredients to buy. As long as I’m generally up to date on my grocery shopping, I have the ingredients ready to go. I baked up a nice big double-batch of thank you cookies . . . which we then ate. So I baked up another batch, which we also promptly ate. I finally baked up a third batch of cookies on Sunday, and literally stood guard over them as they cooled enough to be shut in a tin. I mailed them off Monday afternoon, relieved to have this source of guilt lifted from my shoulders.   

I received an e-mail this morning from my friend declaring that, “They are in my top 10 favorite cookies.” and asking for the recipe, which I have included below:

Katy’s Ginger Snaps

Cream together:
  • 3/4 cup stick 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 approx. 1 Tbsp amount 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 approx 9-10 minutes. They’re done when the tops are no longer shiny. It’s better to err on the side of undercooking so that they’re 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.”


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Charyl February 5, 2009 at 2:51 am

Love the cookie recipe! Heres a new favorite for my family- Applesauce Cake
2 c. flour, 2 tsp baking SODA, 1 c. sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp grd. cloves ( sift dry ing. together). Add 3/4 c Mayo ( no fat free, light, or faux-it wont work), 1/4 c. water, 1c. applesauce-add to dry and mix to combine. You can add 1 c. nuts and/or raisins ( we do not). Bake 350 for about 35 mins. Cake will turn quite brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Eat warm! YUM!


Jeanine February 5, 2009 at 8:17 am

I love this recipe, because you can change it up…our favorite is adding peanut butter. Thankfully, this scare hasn’t affected jar peanut butter.

1 box cake mix (any variety)

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (can substitute caramel or peanut butter chips or do a combination)

1/ 2 -1 cup oatmeal or granola

1 /2 cup oil

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 tsp. vanilla (optional)

nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, blending well. If the mixture is too stiff, add a little water. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool 1 minute before removing form the cookie sheets.

Because I am forever having to have cupcakes or cookies ready the night before, I keep cake mix on hand…and the rest are pantry staples as you call them.


Angela February 5, 2009 at 12:19 pm

I can’t wait to try this recipe. My family loves all things ginger. Being a big baker myself, I was wondering what you do about containers- I used to buy tins but they’re fairly expensive and now I’m doing the Compact so would rather not buy anything. Sometimes I have tins from store-bought cookies, but not enough to keep up with the baked goods I give away.


mindfulmama February 5, 2009 at 6:48 pm

Ok – can’t get much easier than this: (my apologies to peanut allergy sufferers out there)
1 Cup peanut butter
1 Cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp Baking soda

Mix everything together. Roll tablespoon sized pieces into a small ball, press with either a fork or bottom of sugar coated glass, and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned.


marianne February 6, 2009 at 5:07 am

this sounds like my grandmothers recipe. her secret ingredient…a jar of prune baby food. it adds a moistness and nice flavor. and keeps you regular!


Paul Freeman February 6, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Here’s a super easy recipe to try and can be sugar-free/fat free type of dessert. It’s called Pineapple Surprise Pie.

Pineapple Surprise Pie


1 pint fat free sour cream
1 package of sugar-free vanilla pudding
1 can of unsweetened crushed pineapple
1 medium container of fat free whipped cream topping
1 graham cracker crust pie container
1/4 cup of pecans or walnuts (optional)

Mix sour cream, vanilla pudding and the whole can of crushed pineapple and pecans in separate bowl until well mixed. Pour mixture into pie container. Top with the whipped topping.

Option: Consider adding fresh raspberries or blueberries for a great alternative.

What’s nice is if you keep these items in stock or have them regularly, and you happen to have unexpected guests, you couldn’t ask for a better dessert to prepare quickly.


Brooke February 10, 2009 at 3:47 pm

The ginger in these is great for airsickness or any type of motion sickness, so this might also be a great gift for someone with a fear of flying or motion sickness.


thenonconsumeradvocate February 10, 2009 at 9:12 pm


As a labor and delivery nurse, there’s always stray empty cookie and candy tins around the nurses stations. So, if there’s a particularly right-size one, I just bring it on home.

What works for me may not work for you. But you probably have all kinds of resources I’m not keyed into as well.

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate


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