Ahh… here in “sunny” Australia, things aren’t as balmy as they usually are. Winter is upon us, and while the days are starting to get longer, it’s still pretty chilly. Since Christmas falls during the middle of summer in Australia, I had basically no motivation to want to cook the rich, delicious foods associated with the holidays. Now that it’s cooled off, though, I’m craving hot tea and cookies and pie and a good roast turkey. The solution? Christmas in July! Not only are we having a dinner party this weekend to celebrate, but I’ve noticed a small uprising of fellow Christmas in July supporters… ‘Winterland’ markets and ice skating at our local venue (guess what I’m doing on the weekend too!), and festively decorated store windows. It’s subtle, but it’s there, and it feels surprisingly awesome to get into the Christmas spirit in July.
These ginger snap gems are a family recipe in the way that my mum’s been making them since I was a kid. So simple and sweet! There’ll be a few different Christmas-themed recipes up over the next few days, but why not start with these cookies to bring a little bit of holiday cheer to your tummy.
Ginger Snap Cookies
Makes: 2 dozen
Cooking time: 15 minutes hands-on
- 1/2 cup butter (best at room temperature)
- 1/2 cup sugar (and a bit extra for sprinkling)
- 1/2 cup black molasses (you could substitute golden syrup or treacle syrup, which I had to do—but molasses is the best!)
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups plain flour
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- optional: 1/4 cup chopped candied ginger
Blend slightly softened butter and sugar together until no lumps remain. Add in molasses, egg, and vanilla. Measure in the flour, and form a well at the top to add the spices, soda, and salt—blend lightly with the flour, then with the rest of the batter. (This step saves you from having to get a whole extra bowl to blend the dry ingredients, which I find highly annoying and generally unnecessary for cookies.) Combine just until the flour disappears.
Forming the cookies works best if you refrigerate the dough for 1-2 hours, but can be done straight away if you’re in a hurry. Using a tablespoon, form the dough into balls and place 2 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with white sugar.
Bake at 350 F / 180 C for 12-15 minutes, until the tops of the cookies begin to crack. 12 minutes will give you a slightly soft cookie, and 15 minutes will give you a nice crisp one.
Pour yourself a nice big glass of milk and enjoy!