Y’all, this girl can bake. I may not have confidence in my hockey knowledge, or even in my parenting skills (though, let’s be honest, who here really does when it comes to that), but I know I can bake. Ginger cookies are the hands down winner in the House of Men.
We spent a lot of time in my grandmother’s kitchen growing up. I don’t know if it was the teacher in her that drove her to show my sister, brother and I how to bake, or if it was just a love of the craft. Having raised four kids of her own, and ensuring that all of them knew the basics of cooking, I will have to assume it was a little bit of both. To be perfectly honest, of the four children, my dad was the one that learned the least.
Every few weeks, we would find ourselves in grandma’s kitchen on a Saturday afternoon. She would open the bottom drawer beside the stove where she kept her cookbooks.
If memory serves, she might have had one *actual* cookbook and the rest were recipes she had clipped from the newspaper or a magazine and put on a piece of lined paper in a duotang. Occasionally, she had hand written recipes mixed in with these newspaper clippings. They weren’t beautifully organized, or categorized, but she knew where to find each recipe.
She taught us how to make jam and applesauce. We made cookies. So many cookies. And bars. The occasional muffin. But the cookies are what I remember.
Of the three of us, it’s no contest, baking is my domain. There is little I love more than standing in front of my kitchen window, my cup of tea beside me, the recipe I’m baking in front of me and the smell of freshly baked cookies in the air.
My siblings have many other qualities that I do not possess. My brother can make a mean turkey dinner. One of these days I’m going to tackle that and will pester him with approximately 2354 questions and it still won’t come out right. And my sister will do all the party planning and decorating and organizing that makes my eyes want to bleed and my head pound. I will gladly hand over the organizing and decorating of any event we might be involved in to her. We all have our strengths.
Much like reading, I have just finished a long hiatus from baking all the things. But more and more this summer, I heard my kitchen calling. I missed the smell of fresh baked ginger cookies. I missed sharing my baking with our friends and family. Also, for my birthday, I treated myself to a professional series KitchenAid mixer I’ve named Marvin. Named for the fact that he’s martian green, Marvin and I are having a bit of a love affair right now, my friends.
As an aside, it has to be one of the best things to wake up to the smell of fresh baked cookies on a Sunday morning. That and coffee.
With the hockey schedule being what it is, Saturday afternoons don’t often lend me a lot of time for baking. But Sunday mornings are wide open. And since I’m an early riser, I often use the quiet time to bake. Mostly cookies, because I know that from start to finish, a double batch will take me an hour. And I always have the ingredients for cookies on hand, because really, cookies are a necessary part of my life.
This week, I figure let’s kick it off with HockeyDad’s favorite cookie, and my personal specialty: Ginger Cookies. The recipe comes courtesy of a cookbook I got from the International Plowing Match & Rural Expo in 2006. The farm girl roots run deep here, people. Really, really deep. This is the one recipe that I made over and over again. It never gets old and my boys never tire of it. So why mess with a winner?
3/4 cup of butter (you can also use shortening, but I typically just go with butter because it’s always on hand here)
1 cup of white sugar
4 tbsp molasses
2 cups of flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice or cloves*
2 tsp ginger
Cream together butter, sugar and egg then add molasses and beat until creamy. Combine together flour, baking soda and spices then add to creamed mixture. Roll into balls and dip in white sugar to coat. Place on cookie sheet then bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes.
*Note, I often don’t have allspice or cloves on hand this is ok. Because I always double the batch, I just add an extra tsp of cinnamon and an extra tsp of ginger to the recipe as a substitution. I’ve never had any complaints.
Honestly, this recipe is the one that I am constantly complimented on. And believe me, there is little that makes me happier than sitting down to a couple of these cookies, a cup of tea and a book on a cold winter day.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some cookies to bake. If you see me at the rink eating cookies at 7am you’ll know that I had to sneak them out of my house like a ninja so that I can enjoy them in peace.
They go really well with tea.
See you at the rink.