This recipe, from my friend Margaret McCormick, makes a traditional homemade gingersnap cookie with real snap both in texture and spice. For extra zing from your Zingiber officinale, consider tripling the ginger quotient by using ground dried ginger, minced preserved ginger and grated fresh ginger root all together. These cookies keep well in a tin with an airtight top.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

¾ cup unsalted butter or shortening, softened
1 cup sugar + more “sand sugar” for rolling the cookie
dough (about ½ cup)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup molasses
2 cups flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground clove

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Have cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and ready. Spread the sand sugar on a plate for rolling (large crystals work best).

In a medium-size bowl, cream together the butter or shortening and sugar. Stir in the egg and molasses. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices; blend them into the moist ingredients.

Take a small piece of dough and roll it between your palms into a ball about 1 inch in diameter. (The dough needs to be the right temperature—pliable but not oily—so you might want to chill it for a while.) Continue until all the dough is rolled into balls. Roll the balls in the sand sugar to coat the exterior. Place the rounds well apart on the lined cookie sheets.

Bake for 12–15 minutes in the preheated oven. Try to space the sheets well apart for a crackled surface, or you might want to bake 1 sheet at a time. Let the gingersnaps cool completely on the parchment paper before storing them in tins.