I love a good ginger cookie. Sometimes I want them big and soft, but most times there’s nothing better than a crisp, meltingly buttery gingersnap. If you are also in the gingersnap camp, these are the cookies for you. They are perfect.

Now taking applications for Summer 2010 at Camp Gingersnap.

The only hard part is cutting them thinly and evenly. It’s possible that I simply lack the patience for this task, so my gingersnaps inevitably end up deformed. Delicious, but deformed.

Also, while technically these cookies are known as “gingersnaps,” I frequently think of them as “cryogenic cookies,” or “sleeping beauty cookies,” or even “emergency cookies.”  The recipe makes an insane amount of cookie dough, but that dough keeps forever in the freezer, and you can bake up a batch of cookies whenever the need for cookies strikes. I first made these for a party in October, and they then made appearances at a Hanukkah party, a caroling party, a cross-country cookie package, and a book club meeting. Yes, it took FIVE occasions to actually use up all this dough. You have been warned.

The last dough brick from my freezer.

From Simply Recipes

8 oz unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 small eggs or 1 1/2 large eggs
1/3 cup molasses
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

Cream butter until soft; add sugar, and beat until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and eggs, and beat until fluffy.  Add molasses and beat until well-mixed.Sift the dry ingredients; add to the mixture, 1/3 at a time.  Mix only until the dry ingredients become incorporated.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. [The cookies will be slices off this brick, so the more even and firmly backed your brick is, the less irregular the cookies will be.] Cover the dough with the plastic overhangs.  Freeze until very firm, preferably overnight.

Unwrap and remove dough from the pan.  Slice brick into thin slices, no more than 1/8″ [as thin and uniformly as you can].  Place on a parchment or Silpat-lined sheetpan (space at least an inch apart) and bake at 350 degrees until the edges turn dark brown, 7-12 minutes, depending on how thinly you have sliced the dough. Check the oven for doneness at 7 minutes.

Makes 6 to 8 dozen cookies. [See this number? That’s a big number.]