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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ginger Snaps

So, yesterday a friend called saying she couldn't find any ginger in our local grocery stores. I had stock piled lots of herbs and spices in vacuumed sealed bags to bring with us when we moved to Costa Rica. Consequently, I have a better collection of fine herbs and spices than can be found locally. I located the ground ginger for my friend and when I opened it to get some for her, it made me hungry for Ginger Snaps.

I searched online until I found a recipe listing ingredients I had on hand, but knew the dark molasses was going to be a challenge. Here in Costa Rica, they sell unrefined brown sugar cakes called "Tapa de Dulce". This is crude sugar cane juice that is cooked down until it caramelizes. Then it's poured into wooden molds and left to cool and setup into brown sugar cakes. I decided the "Tapa de Dulce" would be perfect for making molasses. I melted the "Tapa de Dulce" with an equal part of water and let it simmer until it reached the consistency of syrup. The flavor is amazing. I let this cool and stored it in the refrigerator overnight and today I made Ginger Snaps with the following recipe:

1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup homemade or store bought molasses
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cinnamon sugar for decoration

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. Sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, salt and baking soda into a medium bowl. Run a fork through the mixture to make sure the ingredients are well blended and sift it a second time.

3. In another medium bowl, cream together the shortening and butter. Add the cup of sugar and beat it until smooth. Beat in the egg and molasses until it's well blended. Gradually add in the sifted flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt to the mixture of shortening, butter, sugar, eggs and molasses until you have a smooth soft dough. Roll 1 inch balls of dough between you hands and dip each ball into the remaining cinnamon sugar. Place the coated dough balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.

4. Bake about 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool for a couple of minutes on the cookies sheet and then move them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: Reduce the cooking time for chewy cookies or increase the time for crispy cookies.

This recipe will yield about 3 dozen 3" cookies.

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