Hot and Spicy Gingersnaps

This post may contain affiliate links.

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?

Hot and Spicy Gingersnaps

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

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

Prep Time:30 min

Cook Time:8 min


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

You Might Also Like...
Lori Lange of Recipe Girl

Meet The Author: Lori Lange

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Cara B wrote:

    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!

  • Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence wrote:

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

  • Christie {Pepper Lynn} wrote:

    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!

  • marina ( wrote:

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

  • Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet wrote:

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

  • Meghan wrote:

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

  • Jaime [5 to 9 Foodies] wrote:

    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!

  • Debora Cadene wrote:

    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……

  • Maria wrote:

    What a fun holiday cookie!

  • Debora Cadene wrote:

    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.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

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

  • bridget {bake at 350} wrote:

    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!!!

  • Jocelyn @BruCrew Life wrote:

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

  • Lisa wrote:

    Sounds great! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  • Renee – Kudos Kitchen wrote:

    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 🙂

  • Cristina wrote:

    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! 🙂

  • Marina@Picnic at Marina wrote:

    Oooo, looks so good! I love cracked cookies!

  • Tina | My Life as a Mrs wrote:

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

  • Jessica wrote:

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

  • Kari wrote:

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

    • Lori Lange wrote:

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

  • Ashley@BakerByNature wrote:

    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!