Honey Ginger Snaps
Growing up, baking cookies with my Mom and Grandma was something that I always looked forward to doing each holiday season. Thinking back, I can still smell all of the sugar and spice, and even feel the sticky dough caught between my fingers and underneath my nail beds (probably one of the reasons my parents called me Messy Jessie growing up). I always went into a day of baking with excitement, but would quickly grow bored and want to move on to the next task. Even in the face of my petulant impatience, my mother would lovingly, patiently finish each batch by herself, never complaining that I didn’t help her finish. Each cookie was and still is baked with love, and this, she has always said, is the secret ingredient—a truth much more profound than I could have ever known as a kid. It is these kind of memories that I relish in.
Fast forward years later, and I still look forward to it, which is why this year, I decided to come into the season prepared. After all, there are endless possibilities with cookies, and I wanted to make sure those that I chose to bake were worth it. While I was trialing recipes, I came across this twist on a classic that I won’t exclude from my repertoire again. Two of my favorite things about this recipe are how easy it is to make and how versatile it is—and for these reasons, I know they’ll become one of your favorites as well. Whether it’s for a holiday cookie gift or not, this cookie is sure to please year-round. They’re best enjoyed with hot tea (I’d recommend black) or black coffee (I’d recommend a mild, Central or South American coffee. I’ve been enjoying my batch with some washed Colombian coffee).
2 C unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
½ C vegetable shortening (I used 1/4 C with the batch pictured, which is why they turned out more round and less flat, but if you’d like a flatter, more rich cookie, use 1/2 C)
¼ C butter, divided
¾ C sugar
¼ cup honey (I used neem honey for a more robust flavor, but any honey will do!)
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper (I prefer parchment). Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, beat shortening and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually stir in the sugar until it is blended, increasing the speed to high until light and fluffy. Beat in honey, egg, and vanilla. Once fluffy, gradually stir in the flour until it is combined.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on prepared cookie sheets 2 inches apart.
Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes, and then carefully place cookies on wire rack to cool. Store in airtight container up to one week.
Yields 3-4 dozen