Grandma’s Classic Ginger Cookies are an old favorite. They’re chock full of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and molasses, creating a deep brown cookie that’s packed with flavor.
I found the recipe in my Grandma Cay’s black, spiral-bound recipe book. My dad remembers eating these Classic Ginger Cookies, though her Rum Balls and Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread are more ingrained into my memory.
Her recipe book also contains (among many others), recipes for “Schnitzer Doodles” (can you tell we’re German?), Peppernuts, Chocolate Crinkles, Date Nut Bars, and a Choco-Date Cake. My Grandma Verie also had a lot of recipes for cookies/breads with dates—what was with dates back then?
Back to the Classic Ginger Cookies! When I first read the recipe, I thought Grandma Cay made a typo. A whole teaspoon of cloves? Usually recipes call for ¼ teaspoon of cloves, at most. I treaded cautiously, adding ½ teaspoon and then tasting the dough. Then I added the other ½ teaspoon, and I’m glad I did. The result is a warmly spiced, molasses-spiked cookie with a flavor that tastes like the holidays.
I did make one substitution. Her recipe calls for shortening, but I used butter instead. I don’t keep shortening on hand and I’ve only used it once or twice for cookies. Butter produces a pretty similar result, so I used it instead.
The dough for the cookies is pretty thick, which means one thing: you can roll them right away! No need to refrigerate the dough first. I rolled them into 1-inch balls, rolled each ball in granulated sugar, and placed them on a silicone baking mat. The cookies will crack slightly in the oven to create that classic ginger cookie look.
This recipe, along with this recipe for Snowball Cookies, are great for kids. The cookie dough for both recipes is very forgiving. Kids can measure, pour, and even shape the cookies into balls—the dough is easily pliable and will hold up well to warm little hands. They can also roll the dough in granulated sugar for this recipe, and roll the just-cooked cookies in powdered sugar for the Snowball Cookies. You may need to quickly vacuum up the sugar after the recipe is done though. 🙂
These Classic Ginger Cookies are part of a six-part series on cookie recipes from my grandmothers. Because who know how to make a cookie better than grandma? You can find the rest here:
Grandma's Classic Ginger Cookies
Yield 2 dozen cookies
- ¾ cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 2¼ cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- Pinch of nutmeg
- ½ cup granulated sugar for rolling
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 3–4 minutes. Turn off the mixer and add the egg and molasses. Beat until combined.
- Mix the ¼ cup flour with baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Pour into the cookie dough and beat on low until combined. Add the remaining 2 cups of flour in two additions, beating after each addition.
- Roll the cookies into 1 inch balls. Roll each ball in granulated sugar and place 2 inches apart on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 10–12 minutes until the cookies no longer look moist on top.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet. Remove and place on a cooling rack until cool. Serve with a glass of milk!
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