One of the first Christmas cookies, gingerbread has been around for centuries. The dough for this traditional, spiced treat is generally rolled out and cut into holiday-related shapes. Gingerbread men and dwellings — from simple cottages to elaborate castles — abound this time of year. Gingersnaps are a variation of this historic confection.
Today Mary Beth Hanson shares one of her family’s favorite Christmas cookie recipes — Dipped Gingersnap Cookies. She discovered the recipe in 1997 in a “Taste of Home” magazine and has been making them ever since. When she first started making these cookies for her then high-school-aged sons and their friends, she couldn’t keep enough on hand — the boys really liked them and were able to find these classic treats in all the locations where she “hid” them.
“For me, baking is equated with love,” Mary Beth said. “I’ve always enjoyed baking and cookies are my favorites. They make people happy, make the house smell good and are truly something I love to give to others.”
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1/2 cup molasses
4 cups flour
4 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
Additional sugar (for rolling cookies)
10 oz. pkg. Ghirardelli White Chocolate Melting Wafers
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and oil; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in molasses.
Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls and roll in sugar. Place two inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake cookies at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookie springs back when lightly touched. Remove them to wire racks to cool.
Melt the white chocolate wafers according to the directions on the package. Dip the cooled cookies halfway into the melted white chocolate and shake off the excess. Place on waxed paper-lined cookie sheets to harden.
Yield: About 14 dozen
Notes from Mary Beth:
Temperatures seem to vary from one oven to another. I had to adjust mine to a little cooler temperature for baking this recipe. My family prefers these cookies to be soft and chewy. Consider slightly under-baking them as they continue to bake a bit when removed from the oven. I bake them until they crackle on top.
I dip the cookies halfway in the white chocolate, as noted in the recipe, and sprinkle some with decorative sugar before they cool. (White chocolate baking chips or almond bark also work well for dipping.)
A note from Carol:
Mary Beth Hanson has been married to Curt Hanson, the diocesan director of stewardship and development, for 40 years. They are members of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Little Falls, Minnesota.