This recipe for gingersnap cookies meets my need for crunchy, spicy-sweet little treats. But if you like your cookies chewy, you can make them that way, too. The story of this recipe begins at that mecca of snack food, Trader Joe’s.
If you’ve ever regularly shopped at Trader Joe’s, you probably know this tale of woe all too well. Out of their many delicious snacks, you find a few favorites that you buy every time you shop, maybe in duplicate or triplicate (or more, quadruplicate? No judgement!). And then one day you head to the shelf to pick up your standbys, and they’re gone. “Oh well, just temporarily out of stock,” you think. And maybe you’re right.
Or maybe, feeling scared and vulnerable, you run over to the customer service desk, dodging carts left and right, and ask them when they’ll get more of your favorite snacks. Definitely not IF, but WHEN.
But the when, the when is never.
They’ve discontinued them, and maybe even tried to replace them with an inferior version. And you can’t even buy them someplace else, because Trader Joe’s rebranded them, keeping their true identity a closely-guarded corporate secret.
This is what happened to me when I tried to buy their gluten-free gingersnap cookies last week. I don’t follow a gluten-free diet, so I don’t know why I even tried the cookies in the first place, but I got hooked on them when I lived a 10-minute walk from a Trader Joe’s. I actually don’t shop there regularly any more, but when I did go, I would usually pick up a bag or two of those cookies. When I discovered that they’re gone forever (replaced with a different version), I set out to bake my own replica.
Has this ever happened to you, at Trader Joe’s or anywhere else? What was your dear, departed snack of choice?
The things that I liked about the original cookies were the spices, the texture, and the crunch. So I did a little bit of sleuthing. Here are the ingredients:
Gluten free flour (organic corn flour, chick pea flour, potato flour, tapioca starch, rice flour, potato starch, xanthan gum), sugar, canola oil, molasses, ginger, soy lecithin, eggs, baking soda, sea salt, natural flavor
The first type of flour listed is corn, so I decided to use some corn meal in mine. But I am fine with eating gluten, plus I didn’t have any gluten-free flour in the house, so mine aren’t gluten-free. I imagine you could substitute gluten-free flour (plus xanthan gum, if your flour doesn’t contain it), but I haven’t done the experiment.
Aside from the corn meal, the rest of the cookie is pretty straightforward. I do like the extra texture and crunch that they get from the corn, though.
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar (plus additional for rolling)
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1-1/2 tsp ground cloves
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar, molasses and egg.
Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl; stir into butter mixture until combined.
Refrigerate for several hours.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Scoop out dough and shape into 1-inch diameter balls. Roll into granulated sugar and place on a baking sheet.
For soft cookies, bake for 10-12 minutes. For crispy, crunchy cookies, bake for 15-17 minutes.
Remove from the baking sheet and cool on wire racks.