Swedish Ginger Snaps for Christmas

These ginger snaps were a true revelation. Elegant in their unadorned perfection, they are delicately thin, and decidedly addictive. Fill a cellophane bag with these star shaped ginger snaps and you have the perfect last minute gift. I’ve tried making different versions of thin ginger snaps before, but never with much success- the dough was always too fragile to work with, or they would fall apart when I would try and take them off the cookie sheets- but not these. The recipe for these cookies is straight from The Gourmet Cookbook, and they are a sweet smelling breeze to make. The trick is that you really must have a pastry cloth and rolling pin cover. A pastry cloth is simply a big piece of canvas that you spread out on your counter top, and a rolling pin cover is like a little cotton sleeve for your rolling pin. When sprinkled with flour, these two pieces of fabric make it possible to roll out dough to its thinnest possible dimension without it ever sticking to the work surface.  A pastry cloth and rolling pin cover set can be purchased for about $7 at most kitchen stores (or here), and is absolutely worth having.

Swedish Ginger Snaps
makes about 12 dozen cookies 

1 stick (8 Tbs) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

1 cup sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup molasses
3 cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking soda
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
1½ tsp ground ginger
1½ tsp ground cloves 

Beat cream in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks, set aside.

Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl at medium speed until pale and fluffy.
Beat in corn syrup and molasses.
Mix in the whipped cream at low speed until just combined.
Sift in the flour, baking soda, and spices and beat until well combined.
The dough will be airy and a bit sticky; form it into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap.
Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Cut dough into quarters and work with 1 quarter at a time, keeping remaining dough covered in the fridge.
Lightly flour a pastry cloth and fit your rolling pin with a cover.
Roll out dough as thin as possible (less than 1/8 inch thick and about 14 inches in diameter).
Cut out cookies with cookie cutters and carefully transfer to ungreased baking sheets, arranging them about 1/2 inch apart.
Reroll scraps and cut out more cookies in same manner.
Bake until cookies puff and then collapse slightly, about 6 minutes per batch.
Cool cookies on sheets 1 minute and transfer with metal spatula to racks to cool completely.
Cookies will keep in airtight containers at room temperature for about 5 days. 
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