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Chez Panisse Gingersnaps

I’ve had all kinds of cookies that masquerade as gingersnaps, but few that actually make my cut to qualify as a real gingersnap – let alone a really good one. So I have officially joined the ranks of the food bloggers who have made the Chez Panisse Gingersnaps from IMBB #10: Cookie Swap, submitted by Renee from feeding dexygus seconds. They are exactly what I think of when I think of gingersnaps and they are just delicious.

These cookies are spicy and very crispy. The method for making them is a little unusual. Once the dough is mixed up, you press it into a loaf pan and stick it into the freezer. Once the dough is firm, you use a sharp knife to slice off thin pieces of the dough, then pop them into the oven and bake until crispy. The trick is to get the cookies as thin as you reasonably can – no more than 1/8th inch. This way, you get the full effect of the buttery, spicy cookies.

The best thing – second best, after the flavor – about this recipe is that you can easily bake them on demand and slice off a cookie or two whenever you get a craving. The dough will keep for at least a couple of weeks in the freezer, so you can pull it out and bake some fresh any time you want to impress some visiting friends and family, too.

If you’re looking for another way to enjoy gingersnaps, try making some seasonal gingersnap s’mores! They’re best if made in the oven or under the broiler so the gingersnaps stay snappy.

Chez Panisse Gingersnaps
8 oz unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 small eggs or 1 1/2 large eggs
1/3 cup molasses
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Cream butter until soft; add sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs, and beat until fluffy. Add molasses and beat until well-mixed.

Sift the dry ingredients; add to the mixture, 1/3 at a time. Mix only until the dry ingredients become incorporated.

Line a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan with plastic wrap, so that some hangs over the outsides. Press the dough into the bottom of the pan. Pack it tightly, and try to make the top as level as possible (you could try making a rectangular log if you don’t have a loaf pan). Cover the dough with the plastic overhangs. Freeze until very firm, preferably overnight.

Unwrap and remove dough from the pan. Slice brick into thin slices, no more than 1/8″. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet (space at least an inch apart) and bake at 350 degrees until the edges turn dark brown, about 12 minutes.

Gingersnap S’mores
2 Chez Panisse Gingersnaps
Dark Chocolate

Place a gingersnap on baking sheet. Layer chocolate pieces on and top with a marshmallow (or two). Place under broiler for 1 minute, until marshmallows are lightly browned. Sandwich with second gingersnap and enjoy while warm.

Note: Use dark chocolate (I used 71%) because it goes a bit better with the spice of the ginersnaps than milk chocolate does. And yes, you can do these in 30 seconds in the microwave but it’s worth the 1 minute wait to keep the gingersnap crispy.

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