posted in Cookies and Bars

Hot and Spicy Gingersnaps

With this recipe, I hereby declare that holiday baking season 2012 has officially begun.  And if I’m really being honest with you, I’ll admit that I actually started my holiday baking about 2 1/2 weeks ago! My Christmas decorations are completely unpacked and already strewn across the house. I love the Christmas holiday so much- you see-  that I stretch it into lasting as long as possible. Here’s my first holiday cookie recipe of the season: Hot and Spicy Gingersnaps

Way back when I was an active San Diego Junior Leaguer, we put together a cookbook to raise funds. This was one of the recipes I tested for that cookbook. It was tested and rated by 3 to 4 people, and it was deemed delicious enough to make the cut and appear in the finished book: California Sol Food (still available for purchase!).

A simple gingersnap dough is rolled into balls and then rolled in sugar.  Let me explain about the hot and spicy.  The “hot” in the recipe comes from the addition of cayenne pepper.  The “spicy” just refers to the typical spices found in a classic gingersnap cookie (ginger, cloves, cinnamon).

More details on the “hot and spicy” reference.
#1:  I don’t like spicy food.  My husband doesn’t like spicy food.  My kid won’t even try spicy food!  But we enjoyed these cookies!
#2:  I gave a cookie to my kiddo, let him eat it and then asked for his feedback.

  • me:   Are they spicy… as in spicy hot?
  • kiddo:  No.  Why, are they supposed to be?
  • me:  I added a little cayenne pepper in there.
  • kiddo:  Oh. (after a couple of minutes…)  Now I can taste it.  The heat comes through a couple minutes after you eat it, but it’s not super hot or anything.

When these cookies bake, they get the best crackles and crevices ever.  Check out those cookie crackles!  Pretty perfect.

So there you go- some gingersnap cookies that have a teeny tiny “bite” to them… makes ’em kind of unique and special.  I have so many goodies in the works this year that I’ve never made before… some chocolate- caramel cookies, jelly sandwich cookies, vanilla cut-outs, and a couple of gluten free varieties too. I want to make some candies, a trifle and a gingerbread roll.  All of that and I’d like to lose about 8 pounds before Christmas.  Yeah, good luck with that one, right?  My secret… chewing lots and lots of gum and/or drinking green tea while baking!  And gifting a whole lot of treats!  What are you baking this year?

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

Prep Time: 30 min

Cook Time: 8 min

Hot and Spicy Gingersnaps

Cayenne gives it that KICK... not too spicy, but just enough to make it have a little bite.


2 1/2 cups Gold Medal® All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon (or more) ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces (brought to room temp)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/3 cup molasses
2 large egg whites
2 to 4 tablespoons granulated white sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl.

3. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the brown sugar and 1/2 cup white sugar and beat until blended. Blend in the molasses. Add egg whites one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the flour mixture 1/3 at a time and beat until blended after each addition.

4. Spread 2 to 4 tablespoons sugar on a small plate. Shape the dough into 3/4-inch balls and roll in the sugar until lightly coated. Arrange the balls 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet lined with baking parchment.

5. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until brown. Cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

More holiday treats from the blogs that you may enjoy making this season:
Easy Snowman Marshmallows by The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle 
Spiced Eggnog Cupcakes with Vanilla-Rum Swiss Buttercream by Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy
Peppermint Patties by Eat Real 
Homemade Double Chocolate Mint- Filled Oreos by Vanilla Sugar Blog
Peppermint White Chocolate Bars by Baked Bree 
DIY Peppermint Mocha by Confessions of a Bright Eyed Baker


  1. postedNov 26, 2012 3:05 AM

    I love gingersnaps and molasses cookies that get all crinkly and wrinkly like this, Lori! They look PERFECT! I would love to try one – and the kick I bet is extra good!

  2. postedNov 26, 2012 3:56 AM

    OH I love a little kick in a cookie! These look so pretty!

  3. postedNov 26, 2012 5:35 AM

    Love the idea of crunchy cookie meets hot + spicy!

  4. postedNov 26, 2012 5:59 AM

    LORI!!! What gorgeous cookies! And that little spicy kick? YUM!

  5. postedNov 26, 2012 6:43 AM

    Gingersnaps are one of my favorites, and I love that this version has some heat!!

  6. postedNov 26, 2012 7:06 AM

    oh I bet these are fabulous with that little kick!!

  7. postedNov 26, 2012 7:19 AM

    Oh Girl, I could eat stacks and stacks of these. Whew, just trying to pace myself through the holidays and workout A LOT! 😉

  8. postedNov 26, 2012 7:26 AM

    Yes oh yes oh yes! The spicier the better – I could down a whole batch by myself!

  9. postedNov 26, 2012 7:51 AM

    Just a FYI ~ In the ingredients it says 2 eggs, in step 3 of the directions it says egg whites, I’m guessing it should be just eggs. They look delicious and now I know what I will be baking this afternoon. Thank you!

    • postedNov 26, 2012 7:55 AM

      eek! It’s supposed to be “egg whites.” Just changed it. Thank you!!

  10. postedNov 26, 2012 2:44 PM

    This looks delicious! Love the detailed pics. Thanks for sharing.

  11. postedNov 26, 2012 6:30 PM

    these are gorgeous, Lori! I love the perfect crackle on top!

  12. postedNov 26, 2012 6:49 PM

    I LOOOVVEEE gingersnaps! They are one of my favorite holiday cookies. The cayenne addition is such a nice twist!

  13. postedNov 26, 2012 6:55 PM

    Hellooooo Christmas cookies!! I have officially abandoned my cardinal rule of no Christmas before December 1st, when I broke out the mint chocolate chips, mint Oreos and Harry Potter movies. (Somehow HP always screams Christmas haha)

  14. postedNov 27, 2012 3:34 AM
    Maria in NJ

    mz Lori have you been reading my mind? I have been looking for a good ginger cookie. But I have to say I am probably going to sub out the cayenne for white pepper cause that is what I have on hand. Did I tell you I got the “EAT CAKE FOR BREAKFAST” on Kate Spade for $129!!!!! the hubs bought it for me for CHRISTmas, I am going to wrap it…lol

  15. postedNov 27, 2012 5:45 AM

    yum! spiciness in a gingersnap? can’t wait to try!

  16. postedNov 27, 2012 6:52 AM

    YUM!!! I love, love,love that you added Cayenne Peppers into your cookies ! I need these cookies! I’m making them as soon as i get home from work!!

  17. postedNov 27, 2012 7:22 AM

    Should the butter be cut into pieces, then softened?? How else will it become light and fluffy?

    • postedNov 27, 2012 1:52 PM

      yes- room temp is good.

  18. postedNov 27, 2012 7:37 AM

    awww thank you Lori for the link love!
    (love the heat element in these too)

  19. postedNov 27, 2012 9:09 AM

    Oh I love how the gingersnaps crack like that. They are so pretty! I cant wait for all the holiday baking to begin!!

  20. postedNov 27, 2012 9:26 AM

    Gingersnaps are one of my favorite Christmas cookies. And the spicier the better! I never would have thought to add cayenne, but I bet it packs a bigger punch than the chopped candied ginger I usually use…

  21. postedNov 27, 2012 10:01 AM

    I am a major fan of christmas too – we’ve had our decorations up for 2 weeks haha! These cookies look like perfection, and I can almost smell them baking up!

  22. postedNov 27, 2012 11:43 AM

    Do you think these would freeze OK? Or maybe I should freeze the dough instead.

    • postedNov 27, 2012 11:49 AM

      Yes, I think they’d freeze just fine. Just seal them up well!

  23. postedNov 27, 2012 11:51 AM

    These sound SO good Lori! I love the combo of flavors!

  24. postedNov 27, 2012 1:31 PM

    Yes. Please. Love the idea of the cayenne kick!

  25. postedNov 27, 2012 1:59 PM

    Oooo, looks so good! I love cracked cookies!

  26. postedNov 27, 2012 2:03 PM

    I’ve been looking for a really good gingersnap cookie recipe. How timely for me!! Thanks for sharing, Lori. Looks and sounds delish! Let baking season 2012 officially begin! 🙂

  27. postedNov 27, 2012 3:56 PM

    I recently made (and posted) my own gingersnaps cookies. I made them specifically to make sauerbraten gravy but also made some which I rolled in sugar. I added nutmeg to the dough for a little extra oomph but I do love your addition of cayenne pepper, especially for a savory application such as sauerbraten gravy! Next time 🙂

  28. postedNov 27, 2012 4:18 PM

    Sounds great! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  29. postedNov 28, 2012 6:10 AM

    What a fun idea to put cayenne pepper into the gingersnaps! They are so pretty looking too!!!

  30. postedNov 28, 2012 7:34 AM

    Lori, Lori, Lori…you are speaking to my soul! My heart leapt just a little bit looking at these pictures! I love the cayenne addition! Making these for SURE!!!

  31. postedNov 28, 2012 10:26 AM
    Debora Cadene

    I’m making these right now. I was wondering what will happen to the recipe if you add the whole egg instead of the whites though. I didn’t do that, but wondered.

    • postedNov 28, 2012 10:29 AM

      too much egg! The batter will be far too wet.

  32. postedNov 28, 2012 11:13 AM

    What a fun holiday cookie!

  33. postedNov 28, 2012 11:37 AM
    Debora Cadene

    I am in the midst of making these, and am wondering how you tell if they are done or not. I used my small cookie scoop, which is 2 tablespoons, and they took about 15 minutes…but I don’t know if they were done before that. They do however taste freakin amazing and I love the spice in them. I cut the balls in half and I think they ended up taking about 12 minutes… Have I waited too long for them? Not sure if they are supposed to be a crisp cookie, a chewy one or a soft texture……

  34. postedNov 29, 2012 8:09 AM

    I’ve GOT to make these for the holidays! My husband’s favorite cookies are gingersnaps and I just love how fancy they look when they get crinkly like this. Perfect for a cookie gift basket — if I can sneak them away from my husband. Thanks for the recipe!

  35. postedNov 29, 2012 7:26 PM

    Perfect crackle & I love that little kick from the cayenne!

  36. postedNov 29, 2012 8:35 PM

    Oooooh, one of my favorite Christmas cookies! Love the spicy kick!!

  37. postedNov 29, 2012 9:22 PM

    This has got to be the perfect holiday cookie. Yum!

  38. postedNov 30, 2012 12:44 AM
    Christie {Pepper Lynn}

    I’m digging the cayenne in these cookies, Lori! I’m not big on super spicy food myself, but the gentle heat that builds over time, I’m definitely into that. Thanks for sharing!

  39. postedNov 30, 2012 3:13 PM

    I love cookies like this! I usually add crystallized ginger to mine. That really turns up the heat 🙂

  40. postedDec 2, 2012 1:17 PM
    Cara B

    Just made these cookies and they are amazing! Thank you! I made them exactly as your recipe said, and I can’t wait to give these to some people for Christmas… (but I may eat them all before I can!). The Cayenne pepper just adds that perfect zip to these! Great recipe!

  41. postedDec 2, 2012 6:22 PM
    Juli P

    I made these for an event and they received rave reviews. They are just the right amount of soft and chewy – plus the cayenne adds an unexpected treat.

  42. postedDec 3, 2012 8:31 PM
    Lisa Cornely

    I baked these yesterday and they were delicious. They were the perfect texture, and so flavorful. I had never made gingersnaps myself and I am so glad I found your post. Thanks for another wonderful recipe Lori.

  43. postedDec 8, 2012 10:09 AM

    Hi there. I just wanted to pop over and say nice job with this recipe–I am making them now as part of my holiday baking list. I added chili powder instead of cayenne (didn’t have it) and used two teaspoons of ginger. They are wonderful and bake nicely–though mine spread a bit more than the photos, but they are delicious. Selfishly speaking, I like mine spicey so next time I might add more ginger or chili

  44. postedDec 8, 2012 1:42 PM

    I have never made gingersnaps, just made these and they turned out amazing! Taking them to our church Christmas party tomorrow night. I didn’t have any molasses so I substituted some cane syrup molasses that my neighbor gave me. Thanks for sharing!

  45. postedDec 16, 2012 8:26 AM

    These are simply amazing. I love the kick and they bake so well…a true winner. Yum!

  46. postedDec 17, 2012 6:50 PM

    We made these and they are probably one of the best of this type I’ve ever had. Definitely doing this again. Thanks.

  47. postedDec 19, 2012 7:49 AM

    Just made these and they are perfect. I love gingersnaps and am always trying a new way to make them, but this is my recipe from now on. Finally a recipe that is spicy enough for me–I admit I was heavy handed on the ginger and cayenne!

  48. postedDec 24, 2012 4:02 PM

    Perfectly spicy and delicious! I have my last batch cooking at the moment. I can’t wait to have a couple with a big mug of cinnamon tea tonight at work. I will be making these again.

  49. postedDec 17, 2013 1:57 PM

    I had to throw these out, way too much cayenne and they were too doughy.

  50. postedDec 26, 2013 5:30 PM

    These are the best gingersnap cookies I’ve ever had. I made them for my family for Christmas and they fell absolutely in love, and they’re super picky with sweets!
    Thanks so much for the recipe!

  51. postedMay 6, 2017 7:00 PM

    I just made these. They took a couple minutes longer to start cracking, so my anxiety rose, but they did crack and they’re beautiful and delicious when still warm. I added a small amount of extra ginger as allowed, and I made the second tray with extra cayenne sprinkled on. My 89-year-old father-in-law appreciates heat, and this is his bday present. I just tried one. Fabulous.

    My only real caveat is to point out that the pics make the cookies look darker than IRL. In the oven, the color never changed much from the color in the bowl, and the inside only turns darker as it cools, so that didn’t work for me as a way to know when they were done.

    SO yummy.

  52. postedNov 14, 2017 8:52 PM
    Rusty Farr

    I don’t know where I got this recipe about 8 years ago but it matches yours. My family loves these cookies. Do you the fat content of each cookie?

    • postedNov 22, 2017 6:25 AM

      No, I don’t have the nutritional information for these. Sorry!

  53. postedDec 12, 2017 8:01 AM

    If I want to use both cayenne and chili powder, do I just add an extra 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder to the recipe?  Thanks!

    • postedDec 12, 2017 4:14 PM

      I’d probably do 1/4 cayenne and 1/4 chili powder.

  54. postedDec 24, 2017 12:36 PM
    Rachel Tripodi

    how did you get yours so dark and flat?? I find mine stay quite “ball” like while they bake, should I press them down before baking?

    • postedDec 29, 2017 6:41 AM

      Weird! They should flatten on their own, but you can certainly give them a little push to flatten if there is an issue!

  55. postedJan 17, 2018 2:27 PM

    My dad loves gingersnap but have never been able to find a spicy one for him until now! He loves this recipe, but the 8 min baking time was not long enough for the crunchy level he likes so I baked them 11 min and set on the pan for 2 min to cool and that got them closer so the next time I Ann going to try 12 min but the flavor is spot on !

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