Vintage Recipe For Gingersnaps

gingersnap cookies recipe from a vintage cookbook

I was doing a baking experiment where I tried out some old recipes from a cookbook that I had inherited from my Mother-in-law.

old-fashioned gingersnap cookies

The cookbook had belonged to her aunt, who had used it in the 1920’s.

I made this recipe from the Marion Harland cookbook, and I think that I’m starting to really believe that 100 years ago food wasn’t as sweet as it is now.

Recipe for gingersnaps.

Cream a cupful of butter with one of sugar, beat in a cupful of molasses, stir in a cupful of water, a teaspoonful each of ground ginger and cinnamon, a teaspoonful of allspice and a scant one of soda sifted with a pint and a half of flour. Add enough flour to make a dough that can be rolled out, roll thin, cut into rounds, and bake.

These were actually pretty good, but definitely not sweet. 

If you’re trying to get your kids to eat less sugar, these could be a good option. 

I’d increase the spices, because they were relatively bland, and I like gingersnaps a little spicier.
(To see another recipe from this cookbook, click here for Poverty Cake)

I baked on both insulated and non-insulated cookie sheets at 350 degrees, and that didn’t seem to make a difference in the baking. 

They had practically no spread, so you can put them pretty close together on the sheets. 

I also tried to roll some out and cut them, as the recipe calls for, and then roll some into the size of a large gumball and flatten them before baking. 

stamped cookies

The gumball ones were puffier…I also decided to see if they’d hold a stamped design, because the dough was pretty stiff, and they kept the patterns perfectly. 

That would be a nice little decoration to add to them.

I have to say that although these were okay, if this was the kind of sweet treat they had back then, it was a pretty sad thing. 

I never think of myself as someone who likes really sweet things, but these were almost too dull for me. 

(Check out this recipe for my Grandmother’s yeast rolls, there’s plenty of sugar in those!)

My kids, on the other hand, said that they loved them, and ate about twenty each. 

Next time I’ll try something with caramel…If that doesn’t come out sweet I don’t know what will.

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