People Who Like Ginger

Digital cooking, well the cooking may not be digital, but there is no doubt that the Internet has certainly changed the way we think about storing and sharing recipes. When I first read a cookbook (yes, one made from paper) electric mixers were not in every home and microwaves and food processors were in the dream stages. Now, you can compare a dozen different recipes from a Google search and pick the one you like.

This is perfect for someone like me who has always seen recipes as a place to start, seasoning to taste and substitutions welcome. My father started me on that path the morning he decided to fix French toast while my mother was away. We had run out of milk, so he poured in Hawaiian Punch. The result was fairly normal as long as you ignored the deep red color and the resulting squick factor. Combine this with my mother's belief that spice packages were part of the decoration of the kitchen, not necessarily meant to be opened, and I was launched into years of kitchen experimentation, and not all of it successful.

We all have stories from our time spent cooking with friends, family and for special occasions. Many of us have collected these family cooking traditions in notebooks or boxes of file cards that include both the recipe and the story of its creation or the gathering that made it famous. At Story Chip, the recipes are interesting, but we are more interested in the stories and how they document the way we live with each other. After the jump, my story of ginger snaps.

I like ginger! Ginger ale, ginger snaps, gingerbread, ginger beef and ginger chocolate chip cookies. After a spirited reading of The Dot and the Line, my lovely artist was inspired to conjure up a batch of ginger dots and ginger lines as a fitting dessert. She was sure that these were the ultimate ginger snap. I enjoyed her cookies but politely pointed out that the ultimate ginger snap would surely have more ginger and less cinnamon. Over the next year, we traded different versions of ginger snaps that were all tasty but lacked the zing that I really wanted from a ginger snap.

We shared one batch with a couple and included the story of our quest for the ultimate snap. I was delighted to hear that I had found another ginger lover who was consistently disappointed with the zing from most ginger snaps and greatly encouraged to get back into the kitchen for further experimentation to satisfy ginger cravings. As we shared our experimental results, we have found that the closet is full of ginger lovers who venture out when lured by the smell of a truly zesty cookie fresh from the oven.

Suddenly, ginger lovers were publicly admitting to their weakness and asking for a recipe. I was in the unfortunate place of explaining that I really did not use a recipe and just sort of threw things in the mixer until I felt like it was close to what I wanted. I had to commit the current version to the Internet to prevent the embarrassment associated with not knowing how I made the cookie in anything but the most general terms. What follows is the way I made them the last time with out any guarantee that I will make them exactly like this again as I am still seeking the ultimate snap!

Ginger Snap
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Ginger Snaps for people who like GINGER

3/4 cup butter
1-cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup molasses
2 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1 Tbp ground ginger
1 1/2 Tbp cider vinegar
1/4 cup fresh ginger
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cream together shortening and brown sugar until well mixed, light, and fluffy.
Beat in the egg, salt, vinegar, fresh ginger and molasses.
Sift together flour, baking soda, ground cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and ginger.
Add dry ingredients and combine well.
Chill in the refrigerator a few hours or overnight.
Shape chilled dough into balls about walnut sized, roll in granulated sugar and place on a cookie sheet, allowing room for expansion.
Flatten dough with your choice of implement.
Bake in 325-degree oven 15 to 18 min.

My artist insists that the final step is to carefully shave three eighths of an inch thick slabs of vanilla ice cream to be wrapped into ginger snap sandwiches. Of course, she can't eat a brownie without ice cream.

Visit Story Chip to add your favorite kitchen stories to our growing archive.

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