I’m still dreaming of my class with David Lebovitz last Sunday.  Of all the recipes, however, the one I couldn’t get off my mind was the nonfat gingersnap cookies that David incorporated into ice cream sandwiches.  The lemon buttermilk ice cream was a great contrast to the spicy cookies, but all I could think while eating the sandwiches was how I could devour a plate of the cookies and be the happiest person ever.

I’m usually indifferent to gingersnaps, but these make me think I need to have them in the cookie jar at all times from now on.  What makes them special, for me, is how chewy they are, in part from the absence of fat and also from the candied ginger that is folded into the batter at the last minute.

An added bonus for any of my dietitian friends reading, is that these cookies have no butter or oil and use only egg whites (there is still sugar though and we know what that ends up turning into…).  You can’t get much better than a cookie that is healthier but still makes you want seconds…or thirds (maybe that overrides the healthy part, but oh well!).

I think these are the perfect cookies for a sweet grandpa.

Nonfat Gingersnap Cookies

Makes 20 cookies

Recipe courtesy of David Lebovitz

Note:  candied ginger can be found at most grocery stores.

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened thick applesauce

1/3 cup mild-flavored molasses

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

2 large egg whites, at room temperature

1/2 cup finely chopped candied ginger

1/2 cup granulated sugar mixed with a pinch of cinnamon, for rolling the cookies

Beat the brown sugar, applesauce, and molasses in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment for five minutes at medium speed.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and the spices.

After five minutes, stop the mixer, scrape down the sides, and add the egg whites.  Beat another minute.

With the mixer at its lowest speed, add the dry ingredients until completely incorporated, and mix on medium speed for one minute more, then stir in the chopped candied ginger.  Chill the batter in the refrigerator or freezer for at least an hour before shaping the cookies.

Preheat oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Working in batches, using two spoons scoop the cookies into heaping tablespoons-sized balls – about the size of an unshelled walnut – and plunk them down into a bowl of sugar mixed with a pinch of cinnamon.

Use your hands to form the dough into rounds and coat them heavily with the sugar.  It’ll be sticky, which is normal.  But don’t worry if they’re not perfect rounds as they’ll smooth out during baking.

Place the cookie rounds evenly-spaced on the two baking sheets, leaving at least 3-inches between them to spread.

Bake for 13 minutes or until the cookies feel just barely set in the center.

The cookies can be kept in an air-tight container for up to three days.  The dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, or frozen for two months.