It’s always interesting to hear about the way food was prepared and kept in the days gone by. Thanks to modernism, we can enjoy food preparation at the easiest level it’s ever been this day and time. While we now call it a “refrigerator”, back in the Depression years, it was called “the ice box.” This leads me to the recipe I’m passing along, which is quite old-fashioned: “Ice Box Ginger Snaps”. This is a cookie that you make ahead and chill. When you’re ready for some cookies, just slice and bake. It’s a very convenient recipe to have around whenever you would like a sweet treat in short order.
For the dough, you begin by creaming butter and brown sugar. Either light or dark can be used here. In goes an egg and molasses. The dry ingredients consist of some spices, including cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. These are added to flour, baking soda and salt. All of this is combined and added to the creamed mixture. The dough is formed into a roll onto greased waxed paper and refrigerated for several hours. When you’re ready to bake, slice into 1/4-1/8 inch thick slices and place on ungreased baking sheets. These are baked at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. You’ll now have an old-fashioned cookie that still tastes good today!
While the recipe calls for butter, if you wanted to use margarine, you can. Be cautious when selecting margarine for baking. Nowadays, most of the margarines on the market aren’t even margarine: they’re now classified as “spreads”. This is because of the amount of water the spread contains. Margarine has to have a certain percentage of vegetable oil and when that percentage is lower than the required level, it can’t be called “margarine”, therefore, it’s called a “spread”. Cookies baked with the “spread” products often will not give the same baking results as 100% margarine or even real butter. If you’re in doubt, simply check your margarine packages. Of course, butter will produce the best cookie, but if you choose to use a spread, look for one that is no less that 70% vegetable oil.
When the mood hits your for a cookie at an odd time, keep a batch of this old-fashioned cookie dough in the “ice box” and you can bake them whenever you choose!
ICE BOX GINGER SNAPS
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed (either light or dark)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup light molasses
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 2 teaspoons ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 4-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and beat well. Sift the dry ingredients together and add gradually to the creamed mixture, mixing to form a dough. On a lightly oiled sheet of waxed paper, form the dough into a long roll. Wrap the dough and refrigerate for several hours. When ready to bake, slice into 1/4-1/8 inch slices. Place on ungreased baking sheets and bake at 375 degrees for about 8-10 minutes. Yield: about 5-6 dozen.