Post by Alison Hein.
My sister and I share a favorite childhood memory – we are at quaint Lake Edenwald where our grandparents have a funky but beloved log cabin. All of our cousins are there. We splash in the shallow area of the lake, until one by one, our Grandpa methodically teaches each of us to swim, in order of age. The challenge? To make it to the old splintery raft through the deepest, darkest water to the far side of the lake. Our boy cousins roughhouse, chasing and splashing, until we are spent. We paddle to shore, finally squish our toes down into the spongy lake bottom, then run to our mother. She’s laughing and smiling, waiting for us. She hands us each a tiny, personal-sized and precious box of Nabisco Ginger Snaps. We collapse on our towels and blissfully gorge on the well-earned treats.
I’m not sure if Nabisco still makes those tiny boxes of cookies, but every year when the weather starts to warm, I get a hankering for a handful of chewy coin-sized snaps. These are a little larger and a little spicier than the originals. I like to use fresh-squeezed ginger juice for extra tang. If you don’t have a juicer, simply peel and grate a hunk of fresh ginger. Then squeeze the pieces over a clean bowl until the juice flows. Strain and use to create these lovely little snaps and a personal-sized, precious breakfast in bed.
¼ cup (½ stick) butter, softened, plus more for baking sheets
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup unsulphured dark molasses
1 tablespoon fresh ginger juice
1½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ cup granulated sugar, for dusting cookie tops
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add molasses and ginger juice and blend until creamy. In a second bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cloves, allspice and nutmeg. Add gradually into butter mixture, until thick dough forms. Shape the dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Chill at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350° and grease two baking sheets or line with parchment paper. Form rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls. Arrange the balls on the prepared sheet. Pour some granulated sugar into a small dish. Wrap the bottom of a small glass with plastic wrap. Press the bottom of the glass into the sugar, then press and turn the glass onto each ball of dough, flattening before baking.
Bake the cookies until they have set but still seem soft in the middle, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on sheets for a couple of minutes before transferring to wire racks.
Makes approximately 2½ dozen cookies