Friday, 13 September 2013

Baking Is A Precise Science...


... or is it?

Today was a cookie sort of day. You know, grey, a bit of rain, cool after the lovely heat of the summer. There was no reason to avoid being stood by a hot oven, and every reason to actually enjoy it. Then there was the rewards from the actual toil. cookies still warm from the oven are one of life's great pleasures.

Today I wanted to make a tried and trusted, my mum made them for me, recipe. Lots of people have a ginger cookie recipe and are partial to their own version. Just like the stuffing for the turkey at Christmas, the recipe you grew up with is the best one because of all the memories associated with it. Anyway, that's the sort of cookie I needed today.

Out came the recipe card, written out for me by my mum when I left home at eighteen. Because I asked her to. (That comment is for my brother who wonders why she did it for me and not him!) Now, here comes the bit about baking being a precise science.


Where the recipe calls for shortening I use butter. I just do that, all the time. I think it goes back to when I first baked in England and shortening was not an ingredient you saw here, and I didn't know what the equivilent was. So I just always used butter. Next is the precise measuring of the spices. A tablespoon of ground ginger becomes rather a heaped one in my hands, because I like spice. Cinnamon gets heaped in its teaspoon too. And somehow a good dash of nutmeg finds its way in.

The recipe calls for molasses, something else not often found on English shelves. But treacle is. Treacle is a product of  molasses according to the tin. Not sure if that makes them the same thing or not, but it is what I use - except on days like today when I realise I don't have enough in the store cupboard, so I make up the difference with Golden Syrup.


You roll the dough in balls - when I was growing up you then rolled the balls in sugar but I don't bother now because that is just a faff. Then you bake them, and despite all the tweaks to the recipe along the way they come out great. Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, and yummy all the way through.

Here's the recipe if you are interested -

Ginger Snaps

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C/Mark 4

2 cups of plain flour
1 tbsp of ground ginger
2 tsp of bicarb. of soda
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of salt
3/4 cup (6ozs) butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses/treacle

Mix the dry ingredients together. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar. Add in the egg and molasses and beat well. Gradually add the dry ingredients. Roll into balls of equal size and place well spaced apart on a baking sheet. Bake for approximately ten minutes or until a lovely dark golden brown. Enjoy.

Makes approximately three dozen cookies depending on how much cookie dough you eat and how big you roll your balls.

Susan

36 comments:

  1. They look delish.
    Thanks for the recipe. I think I might make a batch for nursery.

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  2. Mmmmmmmm your kitchen must have smelled lovely, I can almost smell it from here...

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  3. They look delicious! I love ginger snaps. I wonder if this recipe would translate well with gluten free flour?! Might have to get hubby to try for me while I'm still wielding the sick card ;)

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  4. Oh lovely! This blog post is like a warm hug!
    Until the last bit, where I channel my inner schoolgirl and snort at 'how big you roll your balls' :-D

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  5. Yum! I will pass this on to my ever keen to bake 10 year old daughter

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  6. OMG! This is the IDENTICAL recipe I copied from my mum when I left home. I bet you anything it's from the Robin Hood Flour cookbook.

    And I had these once at a cafe in Kelowna, BC as a sandwich cookie filled with vanilla icing.

    Enjoy your cookies!!

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  7. Omanom! I love ginger cookies. And Chookie hates ginger so more for me!!

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  8. Love ginger cookies.
    Choc chip cookie dough is my favourite. All the ginger cookies would make it through the process at Chez Sunshine, but they wouldn't last long once they're cooked.

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  9. We never did ginger biscuits, actually, the entire extent of my mum's baking was Christmas cake and Christmas puddings. She used to make the mince pies until I finally rescued us from the jaw breaking pastry ;o)

    I'm with Marg on the choc chip cookie dough though - I don't even kid myself it'll get baked these days, so I leave out the baking powder *ahem*

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  10. Thanks for sharing. I still have an old battered notebook that contains recipes that I took with me when I left home. Di x

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  11. Mmmm love ginger. I've no idea what shortening is. Other than I've heard of it before.

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  12. Nom nom, must try this, we love ginger biccies in this house!

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  13. Im almost certain you posted this to taunt me after my cruddy effort at baking cookies last week.

    However your ginger cookies do look lovely (please read :they crap all over my cinnamon orange cookies ) and Im thinking maybe even I could make these ones without it being a complete fail?

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  14. Yum! There's nothing better than a recipe that holds up to some tinkering as necessary.

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  15. That is exactly the same recipe I got from my mom! I think it was from the Robin Hood cookbook in the 50's. Mom used shortening, and her cookies were quite crisp. I use butter, like you, and they are chewy. I do roll them in sugar, though. It is fiddly, but I like the result.

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  16. NOM!

    and you said "balls"

    hehehehehe

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  17. So, how long do they last?! In my house they would be gne already.

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  18. OMG..just made a batch of those cookies. Yummy scrummy - although Grandaughter (aged 4)thought the mixture looked like poo....! Hubby was also a bit dubious but that had a lot to do with the age of the tin of treacle that I asked him to unearth from the depths of the cupboard. That stuff keeps for ever...right?

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  19. One of our family favorites too!

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  20. These look yummy and def worth a go. I think shortening actually equates to lard - or Trex, anybody remember Trex?

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  21. So making some of these next week!

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  22. Yummo!! Will have to make these, ginger is one of my favourites :)
    Lush x

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  23. "Out came the recipe card, written out for me by my mum when I left home at eighteen. Because I asked her to. (That comment is for my brother who wonders why she did it for me and not him!)".

    You are so mean. I never liked you. You were always Mum's favourite because you were the only girl. Etc, etc.

    There are you - happy I rose to the bait?

    The cookies looked great...I think I'm tempted to bake a batch for old times sake.

    Cheers,

    Big Bro

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  24. Thanks for the recipe, but can't you just make me a batch? It would save me a lot of hard work!

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  25. will be trying this recipe myself. My long suffering friend's mum used to keep us well supplied with ginger biscuits and coffee in our teens. She also used to make us knit so we were getting something out of listening to the Rolling Stones whilst we ate or biscuits. My recipe has long disappeared but would love to reacquaint myself with their yummyness. (she used to order us wool in the skein from Shetland to knit. And when it rained we all smelt like sheep!!)



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  26. oh I love your baking Susan! my 9 year old boy helped me bake at the weekend and he made the most wonderful scones! x

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  27. Mmmn nom nom.... I assumed shortening was lard, but I use sunflower spread as a substitute for ALL fats :P

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  28. Mmm, they look so yummy. I haven't baked for ages, but I think I have to try these, thanks for the recipe and hints on what to replace with what (I'm sure we don't have shortening here).

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  29. Thanks for the recipe! What gorgeous looking biccies - can almost smell them...shortening is lard, or for veggies like me, vegetable fat, I thought.

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  30. I had to take a second look at the photo of the recipe card. It freaked me out. I thought, "OMG! How did she get MY recipe card???" Mine was written by my Grammy many, many moons ago and is in the same format as yours with very similar handwriting! I couldn't believe it and if I knew how, I'd attach a photo so you could be equally astounded!! This is our fave cookie recipe as well and when my daughter left home, she too asked to have a copy. It's now on it's fourth generation & I have no doubt it'll go even further. By the way, we DO roll the balls in sugar, if only because it makes them a little "blingy!"

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  31. I had to take a second look at the photo of the recipe card. It freaked me out. I thought, "OMG! How did she get MY recipe card???" Mine was written by my Grammy many, many moons ago and is in the same format as yours with very similar handwriting! I couldn't believe it and if I knew how, I'd attach a photo so you could be equally astounded!! This is our fave cookie recipe as well and when my daughter left home, she too asked to have a copy. It's now on it's fourth generation & I have no doubt it'll go even further. By the way, we DO roll the balls in sugar, if only because it makes them a little "blingy!"

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