Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"homemade"

When I was a kid, can you believe, I was sent to school with homemade chocolate chip cookies. I was mortified, humiliated and totally embarrassed. All the other kids brought Chips Ahoy cookies in their lunch bags! No, not me! I could be so lucky! I would have killed a kid for one of those Chips Ahoy. I never told my mother but I actually I traded my homemade chocolate chip cookies just for the sheer joy of sinking my teeth into a cookie that came from a grocery store shelf.

Can you imagine how horrible it was to take my little sandwich baggie out of my lunch bag and chomp away on homemade Nestle's semi-sweet chocolate morsel-laden, chewy, gooey chocolate chip cookies that reeked of good vanilla and butter? But it was those crunchy, hard, cardboard-tasting Chips Ahoy I craved. All the other kids had them, why couldn't I?

Yeah, everything in my house growing up was homemade. It all started with a tomato sandwich when I was about five. Most kids delighted in PB and J or tuna salad sandwiches but NO, not my house, not my mother. Not on her dead body!

I'll never forget the time when I was about 8 to 10, we were grocery shopping at Stop and Shop. It was lunch time and I was starving. "Can we get a can of clam chowder?" I asked my mother. You would have thought I had asked for the moon. She looked at me like I had just created the worst sin imaginable. Trust me, I was just a hungry kid with a gnawing ache in my stomach. I wanted to go home, use the electric can opener to open that can of clam chowder, pour that chunky, flour-bound clam chowder into a saucepan and in seconds I'd have a steamy hot bowl of soup. No, you know what she did this time? She bought a can of clams and when we got home, made me a pot full of homemade clam chowder, her specialty.

Yup, everything was homemade and when I was a kid, I didn't get it! I guess I was spoiled by the word "homemade." And now I know I could never be so lucky to be burdened by a single word. And so I share a recipe for my Great Aunt Jin's homemade Ginger Molasses Crinkles. Aunt Jin died when I was just seven but I remember how she called me "precious!" I was anything but precious but I had her fooled. Really, her cookies were what was precious and they were homemade!

Ginger Molasses Crinkles

I tried these cookies with all butter and they didn't crinkle. The vegetable shortening contributes a tenderness while the butter enhances the flavor.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
Large pinch salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
Granulated sugar

Sift flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves together.

In the bowl to an electric mixer, beat the butter, vegetable shortening, sugar and egg until light and fluffy. Add the molasses and beat until smooth. On low speed, add the dry ingredients just until mixed. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees. Grease two cookie sheets.

With your hands, roll slightly rounded tablespoons of dough into balls, 1 1/4-inches in diameter. Dip the top in granulated sugar. Place the balls, sugar side up, on the baking sheets 3-inches apart.

Bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes.

Cool on cooling racks and repeat with the remaining dough.

Makes approximately 3 1/2 dozen.

3 comments:

Kalyn said...

In our family we had the same thing going on with homemade bread. Our mother made bread, the shame of it!

Lisa {Authentic Suburban Gourmet } said...

Those cookies look divine - one of my favorites! I agree with adding the shortning - it makes all the difference in the world. Funny what embasses us as kids and as we get older how we come into our own.

Anonymous said...

Catherine made these last night... DELICIOUS!!! I, of course, made certain that the large pinch of salt was "Joanne" sized! xxxooo... Rebecca