December 7, 2013

Ginger Snaps



Gingersnaps hold a special place in my heart.  Gingersnaps draw upon memories of my Granny and her homemade gingersnaps.  I was a young preteen and she made them for a cousin's wedding reception.  While the wedding ceremony was serious and formal at the Catholic church full of Latin words, mysterious symbols, hand gestures and knee bends, the wedding reception was held at the American Legion hall and was filled with hundreds of family members  laughter, polka music and the sound of many voices that filled the room. I was in wonderment that I was part of such a large group of people because my family had just recently moved back to our home state after living in California for many years and my family experience consisted of the members who visited.  Men stood around the bar drinking and smoking cigarettes, cigars and pipes while the ladies of the family were busy with the buffet table which was partially catered by an outside company in addition to the aunts, cousins and grandmothers who brought dishes for the buffet table as well.  I can still see the ladies adjusting their plates, talking about their dishes promising recipes.  Granny put out her gingersnaps and I was in love.  I recently had given up chocolate to save my preteen skin so those gingersnaps quickly moved into my favorite cookie!!  That night I danced my first polka with my father, was dazzled by that big family, and had a lot fun with my many cousins.

This is not my Granny's recipe but this cookie is a taste sensation with the roundness of the butter and spicy ginger.  Makes these as soft or as crisp as you desire.

Ginger Snap Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen
Preheat oven to 350ºF 
2 cups (280 g) flour
1½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom, cloves, nutmeg or allspice - optional
11 tablespoons (150 g) butter at room temperature
3/4 cup (130 g) sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup (80 g) mild-flavored molasses* (sometimes called 'light' molasses)
1 large egg, at room temperature
Coarse, natural, fine, sanding or table sugar for coating the cookies, if desired.  (I prefer them without the sugar) 

Stir together the dry ingredients in a medium size bowl.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, or by hand, beat the butter just until soft and fluffy. 
Add the sugar and continue to beat until smooth, stopping the mixer to scrape down any butter clinging to the sides of the bowl.
Stir in the vanilla, molasses and egg.
Mix in the dry ingredients gradually until the dough is smooth.
Put your mixer bowl straight in the refrigerator, after scraping down the sides, and chill for 30 minutes.
Scoop the dough a 1½ Tablespoon cookie scoop and place on cookie sheets. 
Coat with sugar by gently lifting ball and dipping into sugar if using.
This method makes a a cookie that  spreads and cracks nicely  as it bakes!
If desired shape dough into two logs, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 24 hours for a refrigerator slice and bake cookie.

Shape and texture of cookie using the log method.
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Bake for 10-14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets midway during baking, until deep-golden brown. The cookies will puff up a bit while baking, then settle down when they’re done. Bake on the lower end of the range for softer cookies, and more for snappier ones, depending on your oven.
Let the cookies cool two minutes, then remove them with a spatula and transfer them to a cooling rack.
Storage: The dough can be refrigerated for up to five days, or frozen for up to three months. Once baked, the cookies can be kept in an air-tight container for a couple of days but like anything made with butter, of course they’re best the day they’re baked.


fairy house

muffins celebrated his 22nd birthday
The last photo shoot Mr. Muffins (circa 1991-2013)

042a Recipe adapted from Alice Waters "The Art of Simple Food"

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