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Gingersnap Cookies: Make It or Buy It? (series)

Gingersnap Cookies: Make It or Buy It? (series)

This blog series, Make It … or Buy It?, is designed to help you get the most out of my new cookbook, Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy. In the book, one of the ways we get to quick & easy is to make strategic use some of the most useful packaged gluten-free products. But it can be confusing, trying to decide what is worth your time, what is worth your money, and sometimes what is worth some of both.

So you can catch up, here is the first installment in the Make It Or Buy It blog series: corn tortillas. That’s where I set out what this blog series is, how it works, what the criteria are for judging both the homemade version and the packaged store-bought version of some of our favorite and most useful gluten-free foods.

Today’s test subject is Gluten-Free Gingersnap Cookies. I chose these cookies in this week before Thanksgiving since ground gingersnaps make a fabulous pie crust. If you already have a favorite recipe for pumpkin pie, and you just need some ground gluten-free cookies for the crust, just swap in either the store-bought or homemade version of these cookies and bake on.

The Homemade Version

These homemade gingersnap cookies are made from my recipe for Gluten-Free Gingerbread Men. Instead of rolling out the cookie dough, divide it into 75 to 80 pieces (each about 1 1/4 teaspoons), roll each piece into a ball with wet hands, chill well and then bake at 325°F for about 12 minutes or until the cookies are firm to the touch. They will crisp as they cool.

This homemade version isn’t as inexpensive as most cookies, to be honest, since some of the ingredients (like ground ginger, honey, and molasses) are actually more spendy than gluten-free flour, if you can believe it. But, still, the cost shakes out to be 5¢ per cookie, as compared to MI-DEL’s 10¢ per cookie. But of course, you do have to make them yourself. If you are only looking to make crispy cookies to grind up for a crust, instead of dividing the cookies and rolling them out individually, roll them into a 1-inch log, chill the log until very firm, then slice and bake. They won’t be as pretty, but it doesn’t matter when you’re just in it for the crumbs. You clearly can’t beat the taste and quality of freshly homemade cookies, and forgive my immodesty but this recipe is pitch perfect. Not too spicy, not too sweet – just the right bit of each. And one bowl, a few spoons and you’ve got the dough. With ingredients you almost certainly already have in your pantry.

The Store-Bought Version

Of course the best thing about the MI-DEL cookies … is that you don’t have to do any of that mixing and dividing and rolling and baking. You can just pick ’em up at the store. I gave them an 8.5 for ease, since you really can’t find these absolutely everywhere. At least I can’t, and I live in a major metro area. I almost always find them at Whole Foods and other specialty markets like my local organic-type overpriced-style market, but I don’t recall ever finding them in the regular grocery store. The quality & taste of MI-DEL are actually quite good. They have a bit of an aftertaste that I don’t love, but I don’t think it’s anything that screams “bad gluten-free,” ifyouknowwhatImean. Since they pack them in a bag, rather than in sleeves, many of the cookies are broken. If you need them to be pretty and decorative, these are not the cookies for you. But if you are just looking to give them a spin in the food processor so you can add some butter and press them into a pie crust, these are great. FYI, you’ll need more than 1 bag for a robust pie crust.

I chose MI-DEL because they are well-priced, pretty widely available, and quite good. We are lucky enough to have a relatively crowded gluten-free marketplace these days. I figure, let’s make use of the best of it.

My Make It … Or Buy It? GF Gingersnap Cookies Conclusion

BOTH. Make it & buy it. Make it most of the time, since it’s easy and 1 recipe makes a ton of cookies. It’s cheap, the recipe doesn’t use fancy ingredients, and although the savings are modest, they’ll add up over time if you’re eating these cookies often. And drop cookies are seriously one of the easiest things in the world to make. Buy it when you’re in a pinch, you know you have to make a quick pie crust, you happen to see these cookies in the store and you don’t have time to add an extra step to your already crowded day.

Again, if there is a particular product you’d like to see in this series, let me know! I really think this will be a useful tool, to help you save money and shop smart.

 

Love,
Me
P.S. If you haven’t yet, please pick up a copy of both of My Cookbooks! I can’t keep the blog going without your support!

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  • […] ‘Em?* *check out the first two posts in this series: Gluten-free Soft Corn Tortillas & Gluten-free Gingersnap Cookies.The make-it recipe for gluten-free Goldfish-style Crackers is on page 76 of my new cookbook, […]

  • November 21, 2012 at 5:09 AM

  • November 21, 2012 at 5:08 AM

    I just made these gingersnaps this evening and the whole household likes them. Can’t wait to share them with my husband’s family on Thanksgiving. Thank you for the recipe, it was perfect as alway!

  • Marian Salmon
    November 20, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    Great timing on this! I can totally quickly make this for our pumpkin spice cheesecake crust for my husband’s birthday on Friday. I’m thankful you told us the trick to just slice and bake these because not a soul in my house cares about pretty, especially that cheesecake. BTW, I’ve made that yeast free pizza dough from the new cookbook about 4 times already because it doesn’t require planning ahead (new baby) and my older kids devour it every time. It’s so easy I had my husband make it too! (He’s a great, albeit slow, recipe follower).

    • November 20, 2012 at 9:37 PM

      Congratulations on the new baby, Marian! And seriously, congratulations on having a husband who is a great and careful recipe-follower! That man definitely deserves a pumpkin spice birthday cheesecake. I’m so glad that that recipe has been useful to you.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Cynthia
    November 18, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    I usually use the Midel ginger snaps for my pumpkin pie crust. Do you think I could do the same with yours?

    • gfshoestring
      November 18, 2012 at 11:42 AM

      Of course, Cynthia! To make things easier if you are just going to grind them up, why not roll out the dough into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick, and cut rectangles and bake them. It should take less time than making smaller round cookies. 
      xoxo Nicole

    • Metta4
      November 18, 2012 at 11:26 PM

       Leave it to you to make my life easier….thanks!!! Your ginger snaps win for this Thanksgiving.  Any chance you are going to post stuffing receipe???

    • Metta4
      November 19, 2012 at 4:26 AM

       Leave it to you to make my life easier….thanks!!! Your ginger snaps win for this Thanksgiving.  Any chance you are going to post stuffing receipe???

  • Carole
    November 15, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    I vote for graham crackers next.
    Please explain Disqus. Is it for a gluten free exchange of information??

    • gfshoestring
      November 15, 2012 at 6:48 PM

      Graham crackers are definitely on the list. Thanks for your input, Carole!
      Disqus is just a comment management system for blogs. That’s all. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • November 15, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    This is such a great series!  I’m loving it!  

    I’m also loving your new cookbook… We had the yeast free pizza dough (made into a pizza obviously) last night… and there were NO leftovers!  I count that as a huge success!    

    I know I’ve said it on here before- but I’m going to say it again (cue the broken record)… Thank you for all that you do- I know that life is crazy busy as a mom- but I am soo appreciative of the time and the thought that goes into all of your blog posts and cookbooks.  Keep ’em coming because I’ll keep buying!  love jess

    • gfshoestring
      November 18, 2012 at 11:43 AM

      No leftovers is definitely a big success, Jess! Thank you so much for always being so supportive. It really means the world to me, and I couldn’t do it without you. We’re in this together!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Joy417
    November 15, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Thanks for this! I’m soy free as well & most store bought ginger snaps have soy in them. It will be good to try this!

  • Jen
    November 15, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    Have you tried Annie’s Gingersnap bunnies? I bought some at Target when I was having a feeling-so-sorry-for-myself-I-can’t find-anything-to-eat-day, and they weren’t bad. I live far from a TJ’s, and my town is too small for a While Foods, so I’m going to make your GF Gingersnaps ASAP! Thanks- I like the series a lot. Would you consider a GF pie crust test, home made vs. purchased from a box mix? It would go with the holiday theme.

    • gfshoestring
      November 18, 2012 at 11:45 AM

      I didn’t know that Annie’s made gingersnap bunnies, Jen. That’s good to know. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them, but it’s great that they carried them at your local Target. 
      I have to confess that I’m confused by the whole idea of a boxed pie crust mix. What’s in it – just flour and salt? Pie crust has so few ingredients, and you can’t avoid adding the cold chunks of butter and the water yourself, so a box seems kind of like an immediate rip off. Maybe I’m missing something? 
      xoxo Nicole

    • November 18, 2012 at 4:45 PM

      I didn’t know that Annie’s made gingersnap bunnies, Jen. That’s good to know. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them, but it’s great that they carried them at your local Target. 
      I have to confess that I’m confused by the whole idea of a boxed pie crust mix. What’s in it – just flour and salt? Pie crust has so few ingredients, and you can’t avoid adding the cold chunks of butter and the water yourself, so a box seems kind of like an immediate rip off. Maybe I’m missing something? 
      xoxo Nicole

  • Swede ala gluten free!
    November 15, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    Love your blog! Thank you for holding my hand through the change to gluten free!

    About ginger snaps…being a swede, they are very important in my life…what would Christmas be without ‘swedish pepparkakor’??! I’m eager to try your recipe!! For a quick pick up when no time to bake….have you tried trader joes GF gingersnaps? I love them…and there is no after taste! Great for a pie crust, too, with  pumpkin cheesecake atop…yum!  Also ‘mud ice cream pie’ with it as the crust! Or sneak in vanilla ice cream between 2 ‘snaps’…and wow, what a fabulous ice cream sandwich, with that ginger kick!

    Another wonderful Trader Joe’s cookie…is their GF crispy choc chip! Oh my…down them with a glass of milk…and it’s a quick pick me up if baking isn’t in the near future. No thoughts of GF while eating them!

    Thanks again for all your hints, and fun reading!! M from WA

  • Rlburnaugh
    November 15, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    Trader Joe’s has some decent GF ginger snaps, too. But nothing smells better than ginger cookies in the oven!

    • gfshoestring
      November 18, 2012 at 11:48 AM

      I always thought the TJs ginger snaps have a strange aftertaste. Maybe it’s just me, though. Good to have options, in any case!
      xoxo Nicole

    • Marian Salmon
      November 20, 2012 at 4:19 PM

      Great timing on this! I can totally quickly make this for our pumpkin spice cheesecake crust for my husband’s birthday on Friday. I’m thankful you told us the trick to just slice and bake these because not a soul in my house cares about pretty, especially that cheesecake. BTW, I’ve made that yeast free pizza dough from the new cookbook about 4 times already because it doesn’t require planning ahead (new baby) and my older kids devour it every time. It’s so easy I had my husband make it too! (He’s a great, albeit slow, recipe follower).

    • gfshoestring
      November 20, 2012 at 4:37 PM

      Congratulations on the new baby, Marian! And seriously, congratulations on having a husband who is a great and careful recipe-follower! That man definitely deserves a pumpkin spice birthday cheesecake. I’m so glad that that recipe has been useful to you.
      xoxo Nicole

    • November 21, 2012 at 12:08 AM

      I just made these gingersnaps this evening and the whole household likes them. Can’t wait to share them with my husband’s family on Thanksgiving. Thank you for the recipe, it was perfect as alway!

    • November 18, 2012 at 4:48 PM

      I always thought the TJs ginger snaps have a strange aftertaste. Maybe it’s just me, though. Good to have options, in any case!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Jennifer S.
    November 15, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    love this series! keep ’em coming sister!

    • November 18, 2012 at 4:46 PM

      Thanks, Jennifer!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Jennifer S.
    November 15, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    love this series! keep ’em coming sister!

    • gfshoestring
      November 18, 2012 at 11:46 AM

      Thanks, Jennifer!
      xoxo Nicole

    • November 21, 2012 at 12:09 AM

  • MaryAnn
    November 15, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Thanks for this – love gingersnaps, I’m gonna have to try this recipe, it looks so easy! I’ve been buying Pamela’s gingersnaps, which are pretty good, but of course expensive. I’ll try Mi-Del next time I’m in a pinch – I think they sell them right in our regular grocery store here in CT (Stop and Shop).

    • November 18, 2012 at 4:47 PM

      I don’t generally think that Pamela’s cookies are a god deal, Mary Ann. Too expensive for too few cookies. That’s so great that they have Mi-Del in your Stop & Shop. Can’t get much more convenient than that!
      xoxo Nicole

  • MaryAnn
    November 15, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    Thanks for this – love gingersnaps, I’m gonna have to try this recipe, it looks so easy! I’ve been buying Pamela’s gingersnaps, which are pretty good, but of course expensive. I’ll try Mi-Del next time I’m in a pinch – I think they sell them right in our regular grocery store here in CT (Stop and Shop).

    • gfshoestring
      November 18, 2012 at 11:47 AM

      I don’t generally think that Pamela’s cookies are a god deal, Mary Ann. Too expensive for too few cookies. That’s so great that they have Mi-Del in your Stop & Shop. Can’t get much more convenient than that!
      xoxo Nicole

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