2012 Holiday Collection: Chez Panisse Gingersnaps

I randomly found this recipe of Chez Panisse Gingersnaps. Chez Panisse is a Berkeley, California restaurant, known as the birthplace of California cuisine. Alice Waters is one of the co-founders. It grew out of Waters’ interest in using fresh, locally grown ingredients on the restaurant menu. This recipe is from The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution (Clarkson Potter) by Alice Waters.

Chez Panisse Gingersnaps
Makes at least 3 dozen, depending on thickness.
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/3 cup molasses
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons cinnamon
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Optional: coarse sugar crystals for coating the cookies

Cream butter and sugar until very soft and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs, and beat until fluffy. Add molasses and beat until well-incorporated. Add the dry ingredients to the mixture. On low speed, mix until it all just comes together.

Line a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan with plastic wrap, so that some hangs over the outsides. Press the dough into the bottom of the pan. Pack it tightly, and try to make the top as level as possible. Cover the dough with the plastic overhangs. Freeze until very firm, preferably overnight. Unwrap and remove dough from the pan. Slice brick into very, very thin slices, no more than 1/8″. Place on a parchment-lined sheetpan and bake at 350 degrees until the edges turn dark brown, about 10-14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets midway during baking, until deep-golden brown. The cookies will puff up a bit while baking, then settle down when they’re done. Bake on the lower end of the range for softer cookies, and more for snappier ones, depending on your oven. Let the cookies cool two minutes, then remove them with a spatula and transfer them to a cooling rack.

Storage: The dough can be refrigerated for up to five days, or frozen for up to three months. Once baked, the cookies can be kept in an air-tight container for a couple of days.