Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Grandma Manky's Crackled Gingersnaps

This recipe is an homage of sorts.

To whom? A grandmother that I only knew for a short time.

I have only a few precious, yet fleeting, childhood memories- big family dinners with everyone gathered around her table (always cascading with delectable food), tea time with grandma in her kitchen and sitting on the back steps in the sun with her.

I am also lucky to have her recipes. A few in her writing, often scribbled on lined paper that are now stained and brown with age (I imagine she probably copied them from a friend or the newspaper, as I often do!) And other recipes passed down to me by way of my parents and my dear aunts.

I'm pretty sure that this recipe is beloved by everyone in the family. It is a long-standing Christmas-baking tradition. I always wonder why I wait that long to make something so good and so full of memories.

Yes, I had to alter the recipe, as I always do, but this time just a little. I refuse to use her fat of choice- shortening- but butter is a fine substitute. I strain to hear her voice in this recipe so I can't change it too much.

Other than that, this is grandma's recipe. There may be other versions floating out there in our family (or your family) but this one reminds me of being with her, dunking cookies into my afternoon tea, and watching the chiming Black Forest cuckoo clock intently. I must get one of those...

Grandma's Crackled Gingersnaps
If you like a thicker, more chewy cookie, you don't have to press it down with the bottom of a cup- leave it in a small ball.

2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses (I like blackstrap)
1/4-1/2 cup more sugar for coating

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Whisk together flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger.
3. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, add egg and molasses.
4. Scoop out a heaping tablespoonful, roll into a ball, roll in coating sugar and press down lightly with the bottom of a cup.
5. Place on prepared cookie sheets and bake for 10-15 minutes depending on how crisp you like them.