These cookies are a recipe that my grandparents would made together -- my grandmother making the dough, and my grandfather supplying “the muscle,” as my aunt would say (it's a really stiff dough). G.G. called these Molasses Gingerbread Cookies, but I find that name misleading -- it suggests soft, round cookies with fractured and fissured tops. These are not that. The dough is pressed out of a cookie press into several long lines on the cookie sheet, and then cut into bite-sized pieces after the cookies are baked. Once cooled, they are very thin and crispy -- to me, that makes them ginger snaps.
A couple of notes: These cookies call for a cookie press, ideally a well-made metal one -- if using a less well-made plastic press, be sure to hold the top and the base together while pressing. Of course it's possible to make these without a cookie press too, just roll them out thinly and cut into strips (or use cookie cutters.)
The original recipe called for 1 full teaspoon of ground cloves. Over the years, my family has decided that we all like the cookies better with the cloves dialed back a notch. —Lindsay-Jean Hard