My grandmother’s gingersnaps

my grandmother's gingersnaps // a thousand threads
These might not be the best gingersnaps in the world. The truth is I can’t really say. I’m as biased as they come.

I’m biased because growing up, my grandma always (ALWAYS) kept a batch of these in her freezer, and every time I’d come over (which was all the time… I could walk to my grandparents’ house from my own) I’d sneak into the container for a cookie… and I tell you, to this day I’m not even the biggest fan of the gingersnap in theory… but you put that guy in the freezer for a while and I’m sold.

Even now, making this recipe from a worn out old handwritten card I inherited when my grandma passed away, it’s all I can do not to think about how great those fresh out of the oven cookies would be with some ice cream. They just have to be cold.

That is, when I’m not thinking about the person who wrote that card…

my grandmother's gingersnaps // a thousand threads
The holidays are when I miss my grandparents the most… since growing up we always celebrated at their home. That house sold this year, fairly recently… and while it did sell to a family friend (the best of all worlds) I can’t say it’s likely that we’ll ever celebrate another Christmas inside those walls. Even if we did… without my grandparents, the house I grew up in – just as much as my own – just wouldn’t be the same.

Today I have my own home, my few remaining family traditions, and these gingersnaps, and Singapore Slings… and my grandma’s cranberry relish, which is and will always be my favorite holiday dish. Sometimes it’s the food that becomes the tradition. And sometimes, it’s the food that becomes the most meaningful thing we have to remember.

my grandmother's gingersnaps // a thousand threads
So you see, I’ll always love this silly recipe, whether it’s the best or not… just like I’ll take a freezer-burned gingersnap over a fresh one any day of the week.

You, though… you might want to try out that ice cream idea. That’s got to be good.

my grandmother's gingersnaps // a thousand threads

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening (I’m a butter girl, myself… so in the future I might substitute.)
1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses

Measure flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into sifter and sift twice.

Cream shortening with an electric mixer until soft, adding sugar gradually. Mix until well-blended, then beat in egg and molasses.

Add dry ingredients and blend well. Chill (Not sure this is necessary, but use your own judgement… just makes the dough easier to roll).

When ready to cook, form dough into small balls by rolling them lightly one at a time between the palms of your hands. Roll in granulated sugar, coating all sides, then place 2″ apart on an un-greased cookie sheet (use parchment if you’re worried about sticking).

Bake in 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes (10 was plenty for me). Cool (maybe even freeze) and enjoy!

my grandmother's gingersnaps // a thousand threads


  1. Posted December 18, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing this. What a sweet, sweet memory to have.

  2. Posted December 18, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    What a special memory! I love, love, love ginger snaps and molasses cookies. Definitely some of my Favorites. (p.s. these photos are just so good! I pinned them immediately!)

  3. Posted December 18, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    This recipe sounds delicious, but its your beautiful words about your grandparents and the nature of traditions that really hit home. Since we’re spending Christmas far from home, I’ll have to make sure to pull out some familiar flavors.

  4. Posted December 18, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    I love that you inherited your grandmother’s recipe for this cookie – how sweet! Thanks for sharing such a special recipe with us :-)

  5. Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    These look and sound amazing!

    Sparkles and Shoes

  6. huntfortheverybest
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    nicely written! i know how you feel. i feel that way when i make the bows and strufoli. the cookies sound great!

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