There is one cookie recipe I make without fail every year around the holidays, and that is my grandma's recipe for gingersnaps. I make these delectable cookies annually, for a few reasons: a) I love filling the house with the cozy and warm smell of ginger and molasses on a dark, wintry afternoon, b) gingersnaps seem like a cookie for the festive season, a perfect accompaniment to hot cocoa after a day of sledding or snowman making, and c) these cookies are like crack. They are so addictive that if I made them oftener, I would not be able to fit into any of my clothes.
This is my grandma's recipe, and every time I make these I think of her fondly. This is such a fun recipe to make with kids, especially around the holidays when you're looking for a good indoorsy activity. For years I've recruited my kids to roll the balls of dough in the sugar and arrange the cookies out on the baking sheets properly, and they take those responsibilities SERIOUSLY, as though getting the cookies evenly coated with sugar was an integral part of the space program. It's important to allow for room between the dough balls because they do flatten and spread more than you may expect — although having the cookies stick together and being forced to eat two instead of one is not the worst tragedy. One bite of these gingersnaps and you will sort of wish that the entire sheet of cookies stuck together, just to give you an excuse to eat them all.
It's a matter of taste, of course, but I think that soft and chewy cookies are far, far superior to crunchy ones. I tend to underbake my cookies just the teensiest bit to get that elusive chewiness. If you prefer a crunchier cookie, add a few minutes to the bake time. I won't mind; we can still be friends (more chewy cookies for me!).
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream the butter together with the granulated sugar and the brown sugar until fluffy. Add the molasses and beat until smooth.
Add eggs and vanilla, beating until very smooth and creamy.
Add the baking soda, ginger, and flour. Mix well. Refrigerate mixture for 15 minutes.
Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls; roll the balls in the sugar until coated. Place on a cookie sheet at least 2 inches apart — cookies will flatten and spread while they bake.
Bake for 10 minutes for a perfectly chewy, addictive, magical cookie.
Yield: about 5 dozen perfect, chewy, addictive, and magical cookies