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05/15/2013

~ My Favorite Spice-y Cookie is: The Ginger Snap ~

IMG_6769Today is part two of "three cookies of my youth" week here on KE.  Here in Central PA we're experiencing some unseasonably cold weather, 30-40-degrees (which I dislike), with lots of rain (which I admit we need).  I've decided to take advantage of the uncooperative weather, preheat my oven and bake some cookies.  Not fancy gourmet cookies either.  The kind your mom and grandmom had waiting on the kitchen table with a glass of milk for you and your friends after school.  By next week at this time I'll probably be complaining about how hot it is -- there will be plenty of time to switch gears and head outside to the garden and grill when it happens!

IMG_6554On Monday I posted ~ My Favorite Sugar Cookie:  The Snickerdoodle ~.  You can find the recipe in Category 7, or just click on the Related Article link below.  These flat, golden, crispy on the outside, slightly-chewy on the the inside cookies are made with butter and shortening, then rolled in cinnamon and sugar prior to baking.  Where I grew up, these "super-yummy cookies with the quirky name" were a very popular and quite common. Never eaten one?  I suggest you give this recipe a try ASAP!   

IMG_6400If you love spice cakes and cookies as much as I do, you no doubt love gingersnaps.  I grew up eating the real-deal ones and it kind of makes me sad that so may of todays youth have not.  It's high time they did.

Meet Mel's First Cookbook!

I was 19 and this was one of the gifts given to me for my bridal shower in 1974, by my fiance's grandmother.  It's the 1972 edition and 16th printing of Betty Crocker's Cookbook.  Pages 144 and 145 were marked and three recipes were underlined:  Gingersnaps, Snickerdoodles & Peanut Butter Cookies.  These three recipes worked so well, I've changed them very little over almost 40 years.

IMG_6769A bit about the ginger snap, gingersnap, ginger biscuit:  These are basically small, unadorned, round versions of those well-known fancy-shaped and often-decorated gingerbread cookies:  the traditional German Christmas cookie called "Lebkuchen".  "Gingersnap" comes from the fact that they are quite crispy and make a snapping sound with each bite.  

IMG_6724All recipes pretty much contain cinnamon, cloves, ginger and sometimes cardamom.  At one time allspice was used but was eventually replaced by cloves. Gingersnaps have long been favored in England and Germany and were brought to America by our colonists, who brought the ingredients, in powdered form, along with molasses, which was much less expensive than sugar!

Real-deal gingersnaps are NOT hard as rocks (like you buy in the store).  They're full-flavored, they are crispy on the outside, and, they've got slightly-chewy centers!

Nobody can eat just one.  Got milk?

IMG_65763/4  cup butter-flavored shortening, at room temperature

1  cup firmly-packed dark brown sugar

1  large egg, at room temperature

1/4  cup full-flavor molasses

2 1/4  cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

2  teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2  teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4  teaspoon ground cloves

1 1/2  teaspoons ground ginger

1/4  teaspoon salt

1/4  cup granulated sugar

IMG_6590 IMG_6582~ Step 1.  In a large mixing bowl, place the shortening, brown sugar, egg and molasses.  

Tip:  Molasses is a sticky liquid.  If you 'grease' the measuring cup with some shortening, butter or no-stick cooking spray, it will glide right out. This works well for honey, maple syrup, ketchup and mustard too!

IMG_6616 IMG_6609Step 2.  On medium-speed of hand-held electric mixer, thoroughly combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a large rubber spatula as you work, until smooth, about 2 minutes.

~ Step 3.  Lower the mixer speed and blend in the flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt.  Continue to blend until mixture forms a mass, about 3 minutes.  

IMG_6625~ Step 4.  Transfer the cookie dough to a food storage container, cover and refrigerate until well-chilled,  about 1-1/2-2 hours.

IMG_6631~ Step 5. Line, 3, 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pans with parchment paper.  Place the granulated sugar in a small bowl.

Note:  Don't have 3 pans?  Coat and bake in batches, but pans must be completely cool before placing unbaked dough balls on them. 

IMG_6641~ Step 6.  Using a 1 1/2" ice-cream scoop as a measure, scoop out some dough, gently drop it into and coat it with the granulated sugar, while at the same time forming it into a 1 1/4" ball.  Place balls, well-apart, 12 on each pan.

Note:  While one pan is in the oven, do not roll more cookies and place on the next pan. Put dough back in the refrigerator to keep cold, meaning:  if dough is kept at a constant temperature, all pans of cookies will bake the same.

IMG_6656 IMG_6653Step 7. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 10 minutes or until cookies are set and look "crackly" on top.  Watch carefully after 8 minutes.

~ Step 8.  Remove from oven and allow to cool, in pan, about 3-4 minutes.  Using a thin spatula, transfer cookies to cooling racks to cool completely: 

IMG_6718My Favorite Spice-y Cookie is:  The Ginger Snap:  Recipe yields 3 dozen, 2"-round  cookies.

Special Equipment List:  hand-held electric mixer; large rubber spatula; food storage container w/tight fitting lid; 3, 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pans; parchment paper; 1 1/2" ice-cream scoop; 2-4 large cooking racks; thin spatula

6a0120a8551282970b014e873d4a9c970d-800wi PICT1084Cook's Note: "Nana" gave me another bridal shower gift too:  this baking pan, spatula, measuring cups, spoons and a handwritten copy of ~ Nana's Applesauce-Oatmeal-Raisin-Walnut Cake ~, taped to the bottom of the pan.  You can find the recipe in Category 6!

I truly do come from a foodie family!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 3013) 

Comments

Marilyn -- so that was your brother I sent and received a new FB friendship -- how sweet is that. Without doing any more research than I have already done on the gingersnap post: molasses cookies that contained a healthy dose of ginger got the nickname "gingersnap" because they had the same crispy snap on the outside while remaining chewy on the inside that the plainer (less spicy) molasses cookie has. Gingersnaps are molasses cookies w/a healthy amount of ground ginger added to them, and, one can't successfully make a real-deal gingersnap without molasses, but, one can successfully make a great molasses cookie by cutting back on the ginger a bit. Back in colonial times molasses was a cheap, FLAVORFUL form of sugar, and, the "chew" was controlled by the amount of molasses added to the cookie. Gingersnaps back then were NOTHING like the rock-hard thingies bought in grocery stores today. I could be wrong, but, I believe them to be the same cookie.

Hi Mel! I am certainly enjoying your recent cookie posts. I see my brother, Jack, commented on your oatmeal raisin cookies. Jack, and I, loved our Nana's molasses cookies. She always made them for us at Christmas. To our lament, we never got her recipe. They were chewy on the outside and soft on the inside.
I haven't tried your ginger snap cookies, but I wonder if the ingredients are close to the same? Maybe different spices? I would love to know your thoughts on this. It might be fun to make some and send them to Jack next Christmas!
Our Nana lived in "Clamtown".
Thanks, Marilyn

Here it is Shannon:

Ingredients: 1/2 cup shortening (half butter or margarine, softened); 1/2 cup peanut butter; 1/2 cup granulated sugar; 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed); 1 large egg; 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour; 3/4 teaspoon baking soda; 1/2 teaspoon baking powder; 1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix thoroughly shortening, peanut butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and egg. Blend in flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Cover and chill.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 3 inches apart on lightly-greased baking sheet. With fork dipped in flour, flatten in crisscross pattern to 2 inches. Bake 10-12 minutes or until set but not hard.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Pleased does anyone have the peanut butter cookie recipe from page 144-145? It's been ripped out of my grandfather's cookbook and he made them for my family all the time with that recipe. No one knows who took it and we really miss them. I would GREATLY appreciate any help!

Good Morning Marilyn! I have the ring-binder version too -- it's barely been used because I've used the hardbound copy over the years (only because it "fits" better on my cookbook shelves). Upon your recommendation, I'm going to give the Cherry Blossom Salad a try! ~ Mel.

Mel! OMG! I have the same Betty Crocker book, and I use the same snicker doodle recipe from it! Mine is in a 5 ring binder form, and probably in not as good a shape as yours.
At Christmas, I make the Cherry Blossom Mold salad, on page 375. My step daughter demands it every year!
I received my book at my 1976 bridal shower. The marriage didn't last, but the book has been tried and true. Hah!

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