I needed a quick batch of cookies earlier this week to share with friends and relatives. Looking for inspiration, I picked up Grandma's 1931 Successful Farming Cookbook. In the cookie section she had many handwritten recipes that she had added into the book.
One of her handwritten recipes is for ginger cookies. The recipe is very simple but looking it over I realized that it would be challenging for me to try to make them.
First problem is that her recipe calls for lard, which I don't keep on hand. Next, the amount of flour needed, "enough to make stiff," isn't very specific. The recipe also doesn't include the oven temperature or the number of minutes to bake, and I couldn’t tell if I should grease the cookie sheet or not!
I searched around online to find other (more detailed) ginger cookie recipes and ended up putting together a few recipes with Grandma's. What I came up with is below. They came out very gingery! I wish Grandma could have tried one, but I did bring them to my mom and she gave a thumbs up.
"New" Old-fashioned Ginger Cookies
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large or extra-large egg
1/2 cup molasses
1 heaping tablespoon minced fresh ginger root (I used jarred)
3 3/4 to 4 cups flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter or margarine and brown sugar. Beat in egg, molasses and minced fresh ginger root. In a separate bowl mix together 3 3/4 cups of flour, ginger, baking soda and salt. Add to batter and stir well. If dough is sticky and not stiff, add an additional 1/4 cup of flour.
Cover dough and refrigerate for at least two hours.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and drop on ungreased baking sheet at least 2 inches apart. Bake 10 to 12 minutes on a conventional pan or 15 to 17 minutes on an air-bake pan. Wait one minute after removing from the oven so they firm up a little and cool on a wire rack.