Yom chamishi, 3 Tevet 5775, Mamas' Eve.
I enjoy baking gingersnaps during December, using my mother's recipe. It is such a pleasure to fill my Israeli apartment with the smell of her baking. In December, I like to listen to Silent Night, and Dougie MacLean and even Andrea Boccelli, because this was the music she loved. (I'm not much of an opera aficionada. But for Mama, I'll go the extra kilometer.) My mother-in-law, whom I was never privileged to meet, also loved Silent Night; but she added Hawaiian music to my repertoire, and her mother added cinnamon rolls to my recipes.
We are not a family that holds by secret recipes. Mama always liked to share the wealth, and the smiles. So in her honor, here is the recipe for the gingersnaps that my Judean Rebels football players will get to eat this Thursday night -- if they play like menschen. (I don't mind winning. But the most important thing to me is that I am proud of how they play. So far, they have really made me proud.)
3/4 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 and 1/4 cups sifted unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Cream together first four ingredients until fluffy. Sift together dry ingredients; stir into molasses mixture. Form into small balls. Roll in granulated sugar. Place two inches apart on parchment paper-covered cookie sheet. Bake at 375 Fahrenheit (190 Celsius) for 12 minutes. Makes 5 dozen cookies.
It's true that "unbleached white flour" is not something I have found easily in Israel... and this does not qualify as a healthy recipe. I may experiment at some point with whole grain flour and coconut oil to replace the shortening and...
Nope, probably not. Tradition is a pretty big deal with my people.
"The secret to preparing unhealthy food and living to tell about it is to make it only once in a while. Eat it. Enjoy it. Then go back to your carrots and tofu and bean sprouts with a clear conscience -- and a happy, happy smile on your face." You can quote me.