There is nothing so evocative of the holidays as the smell of a warm gingerbread coming out of the oven! I make a dark, rich and molasses-y gingerbread cake that has me giddy with anticipation even as I’m measuring out the ingredients! Another Christmas association is, of course, with gingerbread men – and women –
As much as I love gingerbread ‘people’ they can be a lot of effort, though a fun activity with kids to help decorate. But this recipe of my grandmother’s gives you that ginger-y taste (of a ginger snap, yummm) in a chewy form, and they make up with little effort!
As an aside, Celestial Seasonings brings out a couple special-teas every holiday season, one of which is Gingerbread Spice Tea. It is wonderful, like drinking a hot gingerbread cookie! Elizabeth Darcy and her sister Jane may have enjoyed it had it been available during the Regency: in my Pride and Prejudice sequel, A Fitzwilliam Legacy, they may have appreciated the properties of ginger that help relieve morning sickness! But the ginger tea the maids at Pemberley would have prepared for them would be simpler infusions!
GRANDMA’S GINGER PUFFS
3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Cream together the shortening and sugar. Stir in the beaten egg and molasses.
Combine the remaining dry ingredients, and add to the shortening mixture, stirring well.
Wrap and chill the dough for 2-3 hours. Roll into 1″ balls, and roll these in granulated sugar. Place 2″ apart on a cookie sheet (lined with parchment) – Bake 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven (preheated). Remove to rack to cool, and store in airtight container. Cookies will be crispy on the outside and chewy inside. You may get “puffs” or cookies may flatten considerably; either way is fine (sometimes if you chill the balls again after they’re formed, before baking, it helps keep them puffier.) Very tasty!!!