Ginger snap cookies are a British teatime favorite. Syrup holds them together and granulated brown sugar gives them crunch. Traditionally they’re made with golden syrup (see Chef Tips) — a thick, golden cane sugar... syrup that is used a lot in English home cooking. It’s the British version of pancake syrup. Dark agave nectar is a good substitute, but you can also use liquid honey or maple syrup. If you do, the cookies will be thicker and more crumbly and taste a little different, but they will still be delicious.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease 1 large or 2 small cookie sheets.
Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and ginger together into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar, then rub in the butter with fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Add the Golden Syrup and mix together. The dough will look flaky and dry, but as you work it together with your hands, it will come together into a firm dough. If the dough seems too sticky to handle, sift in a little extra flour a teaspoon at a time and work it in. Use no more than 4 teaspoons — you don't want the dough to go to the other extreme and become dry and flaky.
With the palms of your hands, roll the dough into a thick sausage shape about 6 to 7 inches long, then cut into slices a ¼-inch thick. Try to keep them about the same size — you should have around 16 cookies. Gently roll each slice into a ball and place on a cookie sheet. Leave plenty of room between each, as the cookies will spread out quite a bit during baking. Slightly flatten each ball with the back of a spoon.
Bake in the center of the oven for 10 to 12 minutes. When ready, they will be golden brown, look cracked at the edges, and have flattened out and spread. Let the cookies cool for 10 minutes on their baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Store in an airtight container.
If you cannot find whole wheat pastry flour, then substitute half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour. Swapping in whole wheat flour only is not a good idea as it will result in a drier and grittier cookie.
If you cannot find golden syrup at your local supermarket, you should be able to buy it from an online retailer. You can also substitute dark agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup.