Saturday, December 18, 2010

Old time Gingersnaps

I work in a noisy world, so I like quiet at home. Especially in the morning, quiet sets the tone of the day. I purposely have my alarm set to wake me at 4:00 a.m. But…….I rarely sleep that late. I will naturally awaken between 3:15 a.m. and 3:45 a.m. This little game between the clock and me has been going on for about 10 years, always nudging earlier and earlier. Soon I am thinking, I won’t even have to go to bed!

I move around the house, quietly as well. I realize others are sleeping, and wish to let them continue to do so. While others sleep, I have my morning coffee, check email, or even bake or cook something. Then finally getting ready for work and leave the house at 6:45 a.m. to begin the commute to work. I could say very dramatically that I work out of state, and it is true of course, but I also live right on the border where the two states meet.

Quiet is an ideal, not a command. For me it is the absence of harsh. No loud or harsh sounds and no bright or harsh lights, in those early hours. I need this time, alone and quiet to allow natural thinking to happen and processing to begin. I refer to it as “meditation with coffee”!

It also allows for creative thinking, without interruption. How many times have you had a great idea, only to have it evaporate when interrupted? The morning quiet is perfect for creative thinking and planning. Thus allowing your complete concentration on work, while at work, where ever your work may be. 

My favorite quiet time is during Christmas. I will light up the tree and bask in the simple glow of the tree lights while enjoying my coffee. Sometimes I will play music, but usually it is just the tree, some coffee and me. It is always an added bonus if the day is Saturday or Sunday, as I do not have to go to work. I love being able to stay home, enjoy the quiet and bake. With Christmas fast approaching, I will be baking cookies, on those quiet mornings.

These cookies are not overly sweet, with only 1/2 c sugar. They are rich in molasses and two kinds of ginger. This is a convenient slice and bake cookie, which has the benefit of being baked when needed or giving a wrapped portion as a hostess gift, along with baking directions. The cookies bake with a smooth top and will take a lemon glaze or decorating, your choice. You can also frost and stack with whipped cream between the cookies in pretty lined muffin tins. The next day you may serve from the paper liner on a plate or remove and serve with simple brown sugar syrup poached apples or pears.  And because it I love it so, more whipped cream.

Old time Gingersnaps (with a modern twist)
Adapted from: New England Cookbook
By:  Eleanor Early

4 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1/2 t salt
1 t ginger
1 c butter OR 1/2 c butter and 1/2 c lard
1/4 c finely minced candied ginger
1 t baking soda
1 T hot water
1 c molasses

Combine flour, sugar, salt and powdered ginger in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Cut in butter until mixture resembles cornmeal.


You can use your stand mixer to "whisk" and "cut in" the butter, the secret is slicing your butter into thin pats and adding to the flour mixture while the mixer is running on the lowest speed. In about 3 - 5 minutes using the low speed, the mixture has the correct "cornmeal" look.

Stir in minced candied ginger. Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; add the molasses and hot water mixture. Mix well.

Divide dough into two parts. Roll each part into a log/roll. Wrap in wax paper, place in refrigerator.

The dough is soft at this point, I will refrigerate overnight and do a final shaping while chilled, before baking.

When ready to bake, cut slices 1/4 inch thick. Place dough slices on prepared baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees 9 – 12 (add a couple additional minutes for a crispy cookie) minutes or until tests done in your oven. Let cool 5 minutes, remove from baking pan and let cool completely. 

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always, thanks so much for stopping by.

This post will be shared with:
Cookbook Sundays @ Brenda's Canadian Kitchen
Tuesday Night Supper Club @ fudge ripple


Donnie said...

My quiet time is at night. Don goes to bed almost promptly at 9 and I stay up then and just seem to chill. Those cookies sound delicious. Have a lovely morning.

Nicola (Which Name?) said...

You are right, long time. I am sorry! I am so glad you are working again and hope the environment better suits you.
What a lovely lovely post and introduction to the recipe.
Happy Holidays! Warmly,

kitchen flavours said...

My quiet time, just like you, are in the mornings. The kids will be at school, I'll have my coffee, check my email, plan my day, although I may not necessary follow my plans! Once the kids are back, then it will be constantly "Mommy, mommy, mommy!". My precious quite time is really for me to "unwind and rewind"!

Brenda said...

Melynda, while I don't get up QUITE as early as you (LOL), I too love my quiet time in the morning. I'm a morning person and just love the time alone to drink my coffee, catch up on emails, etc. It's my favourite part of the day. Some of these cookies would go perfect with my coffee today. Thank you so much for sharing with Cookbook Sundays. Enjoy your day!

Miz Helen said...

Quiet time is the greatest gift any woman can give herself! I have a quiet time everyday when I read my Bible, talk to God, then I come here and talk to all of you. Just wishing I had one of your cookies to have with my coffee. Thank you for sharing and you have a wonderful week!

Kitchen Boffin said...

nice reading... you have a wonderful space here.. following you...

Sage Trifle said...

Silence is golden.

I love your gingersnap recipe.

Elsa said...

These look great. And I love the red mixer. I almost bought red, but my entire kitchen is painted red so I thought it might not look right. I ended up getting silver. Now I'm baking constantly and putting on extra lbs. Eeek! Oh well, I love kitchenaid. :)

Christy said...

oh.i can almost smell them...what a wonderful way to spend some of your quiet time. thank you for sharing this amazing recipe with tuesday night supper club!