I apologize for the delay between posts–right before Sammy’s big birthday party, and right as my in laws rolled into town, I got bronchitis. Which eventually cleared up but turned into a sinus infection. Thank goodness for my in laws, who basically threw Sammy’s party for her while I hid in the bedroom. And thank goodness for my family, who were still willing to come even though most of them are germaphobic (with good reason–we definitely attract the microbes in my family). But it’s been a rough week.
Yet appropriately timed. My mom had been planning to visit me for part of this week already, so instead she came for the whole week, while John was at a conference. She did everything–and when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING, in a way that has not been done for me since immediately after Sammy was born. She even chaperoned Alex’s field trip to a pumpkin patch–and took Sammy with her as well. She went above and beyond–while I mostly moaned, grumped and slept. I cannot recall the last time I slept so much during the day.
She also made me gingersnaps.
Our family’s gingersnaps are famous both within our family and outside of it as well. They do not bear much resemblance to the pale, snappy crunchy gingersnaps in the grocery store–it was not until I went off to college and someone asked me where is the snap in your family’s gingersnaps that it occurred to me our gingersnaps are not exactly gingernsaps. Chewy, thick and craggy-crinkly, these cookies are rich with molasses and warm, autumnal spices. I guess I cannot speak for the boys, but my sister and I know how to make them–and no matter how many times I make them, they still taste better when my mom makes them. The recipe originates with my mother’s maternal grandmother, but to me they are my mother’s gingersnaps.
These cookies travel exceptionally well. She sent them to us kids when we were in college and camps, and she has sent them to the troops in the Middle East (where they were so famous they sewed an American flag for her, flew it in the face of the enemy, dedicated it, and sent it to her!). They are probably the most oft requested recipe that our family makes. They are also my better late than never submission to October’s Family Recipes, hosted this month by myself. Due to the events of the past week, the round up might be a little late, but I will get it done, I promise!
(That would be my Great Grandma Laura on my mom’s side)
1 1/2 cups shortening (I have subbed lard in which case use a little less lard)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup dark molasses
4 cups flour (scooped)
2 t cloves
2 t ground ginger
2 t cinnamon
1 t salt
2 t baking soda
Additional sugar for rolling–coarseness is up to you
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone (or grease if you prefer).
Cream the shortening and sugar together. Add the eggs and molasses and beat until well combined.
Meanwhile, whisk together all of the dry ingredients, including the spices. Add to the wet mixture and mix until just combined. These cookies can be made any size–just bake longer for bigger cookies. Scoop out the size of cookie you want and roll it in the sugar; we have always used granulated white sugar, but as an adult I have successfully experimented with sanding sugar, turbinado, and coarse decorating sugar. Place on the cookie sheet; repeat until the sheet is filled, keeping dough about 2 inches apart. Bake for 11-13 minutes for smaller cookies, longer for larger.