Holiday baking: Grandma's ginger snaps, from North by Northwest's recipe exchange

Each week host Sheryl MacKay will compile listeners' recipes and share some on North by Northwest

Host Sheryl MacKay collects listeners' recipes and shares on North by Northwest weekly

This week's featured holiday recipe from a North by Northwest listener is for ginger snaps. (Renee Comet/Getty)

It's that time of year for holiday baking — and North by Northwest wants listeners to share their favourite holiday recipes with the show, as well as the stories behind those recipes.

Each week until Dec. 13 the team at North by Northwest compiles the received recipes to create another "chapter" of the Sweet Recipe Exchange, which will be offered to listeners.

The first collection of recipes have been received, and can be viewed in the document at the end of this story. We've also chosen to highlight one of the recipes, from listener Michelle Li of Richmond.

Listeners can email their recipes and stories to before midnight on Dec. 13. Please include the origin of the recipe if you know that as well.

Everyone who sends a recipe will be put into a contest to win new cookbooks.

Here is a recipe from the second chapter of the North by Northwest Sweet Recipe Exchange, from Michelle Li:

Grandma's Ginger Snaps

Michelle Li's story:

This recipe is an homage of sorts.

To whom? A grandmother that I only knew for a short time. I have only a few precious, yet fleeting, childhood memories- big family dinners with everyone gathered around her table (always cascading with delectable food), tea time with grandma in her kitchen and sitting on the back steps in the sun with her. 

I am also lucky to have her recipes. 

I'm pretty sure that this recipe is beloved by everyone in the family. It is a long-standing Christmas-baking tradition. I always wonder why I wait that long to make something so good and so full of memories. 

Yes, I had to alter the recipe, as I always do, but this time just a little. I refuse to use her fat of choice (shortening) but butter is a fine substitute. I strain to hear her voice in this recipe so I can't change it too much.

Other than that, this is my grandma's recipe. There may be other versions floating out there in our family (or your family) but this one reminds me of being with her, dunking cookies into my afternoon tea, and watching the chiming Black Forest cuckoo clock intently. I must get one of those...


  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses (I like blackstrap)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup more sugar for coating


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Whisk together flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger.

3. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, add egg and molasses. 

4. Scoop out a heaping tablespoonful, roll into a ball, roll in coating sugar and press down lightly with the bottom of a cup.

5. Place on prepared cookie sheets and bake for 10-15 minutes depending on how crisp you like them.

Note: If you like a thicker, more chewy cookie you don't have to press it down with the bottom of a cup, simply leave it in a small ball.

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