Ginger Snaps with Grains of Paradise

OK, so they aren't very scary but it is Halloween and Simple Ginger Snaps doesn't sound very cool.  I adapted the recipe from Brown Eyed Baker sans the molasses because we didn't have any in the "test kitchen."  I also added Black Pepper and Grains of Paradise to make them a little more spicy and savory.

I recently purchased a second pepper mill and some Grains of Paradise and I have been experimenting with them.  The little known spice is reminiscent of black pepper but also lends a pie-spice nuance that I thought would go well with ginger snaps, and it does.

Grains of Paradise

From the Spice House:

"Grains of Paradise come from West Africa, where they grow on a leafy plant and are easily harvested. The name comes from Medieval spice traders looking for a way to inflate the price - it was claimed that these peppery seeds grew only in Eden, and had to be collected as they floated down the rivers out of paradise. Although Grains of Paradise are now rare and expensive, they used to be used as a cheaper substitute for black pepper. They have a zesty flavor reminiscent of pepper, with hints of flowers, coriander and cardamom."

I use them in place of or in conjunction with black pepper often and enjoy having a second staple for seasoning.  Salt and pepper, salt and pepper, salt and pepper...  How about salt and Grains of Paradise!  Now you're cooking with gas baby!



Scary Ginger Snaps with Grains of Paradise 


  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground Grains of Paradise
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1¼ cup chopped crystallized ginger


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a Silpat.

2. In a large bowl, incorporate the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.

3. In another bowl whisk together the brown sugar, oil, egg, and honey until the sugar mostly dissolves.  "Gingerly" add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix just until combined.

4. Using a tablespoon, scoop out the dough and place it on the baking sheet and flatten them lightly with your fingers.  Press a few chunks of the crystallized ginger into the top of each one. 

5. Bake for 9-13 minutes.  I take them out just when the edges start to brown.  Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.


Authordavid koch