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RECIPE: Ginger Cookies

December 4th is National Cookie Day.

While there seems to be an endless variety of cookies worldwide, there are eight basic types of cookies.

The recipe below is for the ginger cookie—a seasonal choice that is neither gingerbread nor gingersnaps.

Ginger cookies are a type of drop cookie. A ball of dough is dropped onto the cookie sheet, and spreads out into a flat cookie as it bakes. Molasses cookies and spice cookies* are close relatives.

The Toll House cookie may be the most familiar example of a drop cookie.

Ginger became prominent as a holiday spice in the Middle Ages. At the end of the 11th century, Crusaders returned to Europe from the Middle East with ginger and other spices.

In addition to savory uses, ginger began to be used to flavor cakes and cookies. It was costly, however—as was sugar—that most “regular folks” only enjoyed ginger cookies and gingerbread (Lebkuchen) during the Christmas season.

(Trivia: Only Lebkuchen Guild members could bake gingerbread, except during Christmas, when anyone could bake it.)

See the difference between ginger cookies, gingersnaps and gingerbread below.

Thanks to Plugrá, the favorite premium butter of America’s pastry chefs, for the recipe.

These are delicious with coffee or tea, hot chocolate, milk, or a glass of mulled cider.

Check to see that your aromatic spices (ginger, allspice, cinnamon, cloves) still have plenty of aroma. If the aroma is faded, the flavor will be, too.


  • 2⅓ cup (350g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons (10g) ground ginger
  • 2¼ teaspoons (2.5g) ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons (5g) ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon (1g) ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons (10g) baking soda
  • 2 pinches salt
  • Pinch white pepper (you can substitute black pepper)
  • 8 ounces (227g) Plugrá Premium Butter, unsalted, softened
  • ⅔ cup (134g) granulated sugar, divided
  • ⅓ cup (64g) brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup (109g) molasses or maple syrup
  • 1 large (50g) egg

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

    2. WHISK together the flour, spices, baking soda, salt and pepper in a medium bowl; set aside.

    3. CREAM the butter with 1/3 cup of the granulated sugar and 1/3 cup brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, at medium speed.

    4. SCRAPE down the bowl and beat in the molasses and egg. Gradually add the flour mixture and stir on low speed until well blended, scraping the bowl occasionally.

    5. FORM the dough into 1-inch balls and place onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until the dough is firm. Roll the cookies in remaining ⅓ cup of granulated sugar to completely coat each ball of dough.

    6. BAKE for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies appear cracked on top and firm.


    [1] Unlike gingerbread and gingersnaps, ginger cookies are soft to the tooth, and chewy (photo © Plugrá).

    [2] Line your cookie sheets with parchment. It helps the cookies bake more evenly, and its non-stick feature helps prevent the cookies from cracking or breaking when lifting them off the sheet (photo © Paper Chef).

    [3] European butter, with a minimum of 82% butterfat mandated by law, is has more rich butter flavor than typical American butter. U.S. butter is required to have only 80% fat. The extra 2% fat makes the butter creamier, softer and richer. Pastry chefs use 82% butter to achieve better results (photo © iGourmet).


    A ginger cookie is a soft, molasses-type cookie that is flavored with ginger and other spices. It is larger than, and otherwise differs from, a gingersnap.

    Unlike the fancier gingerbread, a gingersnap is a small, thin, plain round cookie with a hard, smooth texture like a gingerbread cookie. It is a smaller version of the traditional German Christmas cookie known as Lebkuchen. Like a gingerbread cookie, gingersnaps break with a “snap.”

    Gingersnaps contain a larger amount of ginger, and thus are spicier, than the chewier ginger cookies.




    *Spice cookies and ginger cookies have similar seasonings, but the ginger flavor is much more prominent in ginger cookies.


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