Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I discovered this recipe when I was a teenager.  My mom bought me a cookbook from a used book store.  This purchase combined our 2 loves.  Mine of cooking and hers of used book stores.  The cookbook was called "Spices of the World by McCormick."  It was copyrighted in 1964, but still had recipes that sounded great.  I loved the book, because it pushed one into the spice rack with both feet.  Of course their purpose was to sell spices and herbs.

From this book came the most beloved recipe of all.  The recipe for Gingersnaps.  I always thought it was good.  During my poor years I used it quite a bit as a gift.  Buy a cheap nice looking plate or container and fill it with Gingersnaps.  It was ALWAYS a hit.

It wasn't until my kids were in Elementary school that it's greatness was truly felt.  For the yearly carnival I was toying with what I'd make for the bake sale.  There were always a lot of chocolate chip cookies and brownies.  I decided to do something different to offer some variety.  I made the Gingersnaps. 

My job at the carnival was to run the Silent Auction.  That's where I was the whole night pretty much.  Someone came up to me and had a question.  About the Silent Auction of course.... no the question was "Are you the lady who made the wonderful Gingersnap cookies?"  At that point I wasn't sure how many people made Gingersnaps and said so.  They said, "Oh no there is only one Gingersnap and they are great.  I was told to come ask you for the recipe."  At this point I was shocked how did anyone know I had donated the Gingersnaps.  I was happy to take their email with a promise to send the recipe.  I walked out to the bake sale and behind the table was a friend of mine.  She's standing there with about 6 people around her purchasing goodies.  She looks up, points and joyfully yells, "THAT'S THE LADY WHO MADE THE GINGERSNAPS!"  The 6 people turn and coming running at me!  I knew my recipe was good great even.  I just didn't know how great until I turned into a Gingersnap Celebrity at my kids' carnival.

This went on for about 4 hours.  At the 3 hour mark I said to the person who was asking me for the recipe, "Haven't they run out of Gingersnaps by now?"  She said, "Oh yes they ran out a long time ago, but I was told I could get the recipe from you."  Fortunately, I'm not one of those people who believe in secret recipes.  I like to share.  I want everyone to go home and make something delicious for themselves.


3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground ginger

Cream shortening and sugar together.  Add molasses and egg, beat well.  Sift flour, measure and sift again with remaining ingredients.  Add to creamed mixture and mix thoroughly.  Roll into small balls and dip into additional granulated sugar or leave plain.  Place 2 inches a part on greased baking sheet.  Bake in 375 degree F oven 10 to 12 minutes.  Makes 6 to 7 dozen.

Lynne's note:  This recipe doubles and triples well for making larger cookies.  They are beautiful rolled in sugar and just as good if you're in a hurry not sugared.  I don't sift.  I put all ingredients to be sifted in a big bowl and stir them with a wire whisk.  Use a cookie scoop.  It saves a lot of time and everyone is so impressed when your cookies are all the same size.  When I don't sugar them I don't roll them into a ball either.  Just cookie scoop them right onto cookie sheet.  If you're going to sugar them.  Use cookie scoop to measure all the dough.  Then roll into ball and roll in sugar.  I found it faster to use my good sized flat bottomed round plastic bowl.  I put a few tablespoons of sugar in plastic bowl.  Then I throw in 3 or 4 balls and swirl the bowl like I'm panning for gold.  Make sure to keep balls from sticking together.  Separate and swirl if needed.

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