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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

tis the season

I strut into the corner store in the morning with no make-up and dark sunglasses.

I buy vegetable shortening and eggs, and smile at the woman behind the counter.

"I'm baking cookies," I tell her, "but I can't bake, so we'll see how it goes."

She smiles. "I'm sure they'll turn out fine."

"No really" I reply, "I mean I can cook, but I've never been able to bake very well, I'm bad at chemistry."

Back at home I start mixing ingredients. I follow my grandmother's recipe and try and concentrate on measuring correctly, adding things in at the right time and not forgetting anything.

Five minutes later I'm back at the corner store.

"I forgot flour!" I yell to the woman behind the counter as I run to grab a bag.

She can't stop laughing as she swipes my debit card.

"Okay, I believe you now, you can't bake," she says, as I explain my various baking mishaps of the past.

You’ll be happy to know that the cookies did turn out, and if you’re a brave baker like myself, there’s no better recipe to get you in the holiday spirit than my grandmother’s ginger cookies.

ginger cookies

Grandma Young's Ginger Cookies

5 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp each of soda, salt, cloves and cinnamon
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups molasses

1. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.

2. Using electric mixer cream shortening and sugar.

3. Add eggs and molasses.

4. Gradually stir in flour mixture.

5. Divide dough in four parts.

6. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate until firm.

7. Roll out dough, cut into shapes, and bake at 325°C for 12-15 minutes.

*Don't forget flour.


Blogger Wicked Good Dinner said...

I think today was a day for baking cookies all across the US...must be in the air :-)

9:30 PM  
Blogger moonlight nimi said...

I think it's great that you are honouring your grandma be using her recipes. Congratulations on some wonderful looking baking success!

9:42 PM  
Blogger Mirella said...

Hi Gill,

Just like yourself, I can cook but not bake. I'll try your reciepie cause I'm really in the mood for holiday cookies, and Raphael, my 3 years old son will certainly enjoy!


4:18 AM  
Blogger Jess said...

Even the pro bakers mess up sometimes--I made cookies last weekend, and I totally messed them up, but I can't figure out how. As opposed to making up a recipe, I actually used a recipe for once, and they turned out like cake. I think I've been baking too many muffins lately, because Natty told me they are were essentially Skor "muffins, only in a cookie shape."

7:34 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

mmm ginger of my favourite things to make/eat!! i always have trouble with oven times though...i like to have ones that stay soft, but when i make them, after they cool, they are sometimes too soft and slightly raw-tasting, or too hard. any tips?

8:19 PM  
Blogger Gillian Young said...

Jess-Do you mean Skor as in the chocolate bar? What did you put in them??

Andrea- I fine there's a fine line between getting them under or overcooked that I played around with. You have to get them cooked enough so that they slide onto your spatula easily without breaking, but still a little soft in the centre. It also helps if you make them flatter so they can bake evenly in a shorter time!

6:00 AM  
Anonymous Marisa said...

Those cookies look delicious, Gillian. This time of year I lean towards making sugar cookies instead of ginger cookies, though, because I cut them into Christmas-y shapes and add sparkles, and everyone seems to love them. Should I get you a recipe?

The hardest thing about baking, I think, is getting the baking time right. With cookies, Gill's right - you should be able to get them onto the spatula. With cake and brownies, you should be able to stick a fork in and, when you pull it out, it should be clean, with no cake or brownie batter stuck to it.

The other thing with baking is to be precise with your measurements. If it says a cup, use a cup, not a cup and a quarter. Because it's a science, the proportions need to be right.

6:36 AM  
Blogger Gillian Young said...

Marisa- I would love your sugar cookie recipe! I was actually thinking about making these next!

7:16 AM  
Blogger Jess said...

I just chop up Skor chocolate bars and put them into everything! Cookies, brownies. . . I mean, you can buy the skor toffee bits, but they don't have any chocolate with them.

5:07 PM  
Anonymous Marisa said...

Sugar Cookie Recipe

You will need:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (or a little more if you want a slightly stronger vanilla flavour)

1. Cream the butter; add sugar and egg, and mix all together.

2. Add the dry ingredients, milk and vanilla and mix everything together.

3. Roll out dough until about 1/4 inch thick, then cut into shapes.

4. Sprinkle white sugar or colourful sprinkles on top.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. When finished, the cookies should still be pale on the top but be turning a golden brown around the bottom edges.

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Marisa said...

So sorry, that other recipe I gave you wasn't the right one. I thought it was because it was the only one I could find in my recipe box but then I remembered that the real one was written at the back of my cook book. It's one that my mom used to make when she was in university and had copied out so we wouldn't lose it. So here's the real, tried and tested recipe:

2 eggs
1 cup shortening (butter or margerine work as well)
1/2 tablespoon of vanilla
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1. Stir shortening and sugar until smooth.

2. Add beaten eggs, milk and vanilla.

3. Add sifted ingredients (flour, salt, powder, soda). Mix all together

4. Roll into 1/2" thickness, then cut into shapes.

5. Decorate with white sugar or with sprinkles.

6. Bake at 375 for 8-12 minutes. (Same as the other recipe, they should be turning a golden colour around the bottom).

9:41 AM  

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