Seasonal Flavors: Ginger Snaps

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Ginger snaps

Certain times of the year are nearly sacred. During the waning light of December, many of us bake cookies, and this, I believe, is a sacred act. Cookies are love. Cookie baking is a ritual. The music is playing (for me, usually George Winston’s album December), and it all begins anew. A celebration of the deep darkness, that then emerges into the post-solstice light. There is nothing so symbolic and yet so real.

With no small children in residence, cookie baking is a reflective activity. One can review the year and review one’s life. One can think about past cookie years with little kids under foot, flour everywhere, the “Please please please can I have some Mommy?”

Whichever scenario is yours this year, I wish you quiet joy (or noisy joy), in the baking, the taste, the aroma, the warmth of the kitchen.  

This is the cookie I always bake first:

Ginger Snaps

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar (brown or white)
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup butter

Mix all dry ingredients and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and beat until light and fluffy. Add the molasses. Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

Chill the dough for at least an hour.

Take a teaspoon of dough and roll into a ball. Make the cookies small because they spread out as they bake.

Roll each ball in white sugar and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Dip the bottom of a small jar or water glass into sugar and gently press each cookie to make a small disk.

Bake at 375°F for 8-12 minutes. Timing will depend on the size of the cookie and the accuracy of your oven. Check frequently. 

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