One of my favorite things about preparing a tried and true “Classic Family Recipe” are all of the wonderful memories that come flooding back to me once those familiar smells fill the kitchen. I think it’s amazing how one recipe can take you for a sudden trip down memory lane, and help you recall some truly special moments. I had one of these memory smacks a few days ago, when I was preparing my all time favorite cookie, my Grandma Viola’s Ginger Snaps.
That cookie jar was one of the first things I looked for upon arriving at my grandma’s house. After getting my big wet grandma kiss, I would head into the kitchen, look up over the counter, and cross my fingers that she would have her ginger snaps waiting for me. Those cookies were the ultimate treat; perfectly chewy on the inside, a slight crunch on the outside, and a beautiful crackle running through each cookie, which shimmered from a sprinkling of white sugar. I could eat dozens of those cookies, and no one could make them better than my grandma.
It’s funny how certain memories stand out like perfect photographs in your mind. When I think of visiting my grandma’s big white house as a child, there are a few of these random memories that remain crystal clear, almost as if they happened just moments ago. I can remember swinging on this creaky old swing that she had hanging off of the end of her clothes line. I remember digging deep in her closets upstairs, searching for an old game or a set of toys that my dad used to play with. I remember waiting for the mail man to come, because her house had a mail slot in the front door, and she didn’t have to walk all the way out to the mail box! I remember playing down in her basement and crushing old soda cans on a stump with a big wooden mallet that my grandpa had made. And finally, I remember her big brown glass cookie jar.
All of these wonderful memories came flooding back to me last Wednesday when I was making my grandma’s cookies, which inspired me to share this recipe with you. I hope that you will give it a try and perhaps create some new memories of your own around these cookies. Just be sure and follow the recipe and instructions to a “T,” because you cannot improve on perfection, and my Grandma Viola’s Ginger Snaps are just that. Enjoy!
Grandma Viola’s Ginger Snaps
Makes 30 BIG cookies
- 3/4 cup shortening
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/s tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar (for rolling the dough balls prior to baking)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Cream together shortening and 1 cup sugar
- Add egg and molasses and cream together until smooth
- Sift together remaining dry ingredients
- Fully incorporate dry ingredients with wet
- Roll dough to 1 1/2 inch balls and roll each one in remaining 1/4 cup sugar
- Place balls on a parchment lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart
- Bake cookies at 375 for 8-10 minutes, cookies will begin to crackle.
- This is the perfect amount of time for a slight crunch on the outside, yet still chewy on the inside. If you prefer your cookies crunchy all the way through, leave in the oven for a minute or two longer.
- When removing cookies from oven “give the cookie sheet a good whack on the counter” to flatten the cookies and create more crackle on the top. (Quoted directly from grandmas recipe) This is an important step, don’t skip it!
- Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool fully.
- Store in an airtight container, or a big brown glass cookie har (if you have one :-))