Make It Snappy

gingersnaps.jpg There are certain social barriers we face throughout our lives, that when knocked down, make a big impression on us.  Especially when you’re a kid.  When I was in the 6th grade at Hawthorn Elementary School my homeroom teacher whose name escapes me, but for our purposes let’s just call her Miss Pritchard, had a kickass ginger snap recipe. 

Up until that time the store bought ones always burned my tongue so I just ruled them out in my cookie lexicon. They were also flat where Miss Pritchard’s were fluffy and thick. The sugar that dusted the store bought ones gave off that diamond glint but Miss Pritchard’s looked like something you saw when you opened a treasure chest.  They were also crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Hoo yeah!

cartoon2.jpg Now, about the social barrier. The idea that I would ask her for the recipe and receive it from her seemed so bizarre to me. She was my T E A C H E R.  Not only a grown up, not only someone in a position of authority, hell my folks were in a position of authority, but her position of authority could impact my future. Also, even though I couldn’t really put my finger on what I was feeling, I know now that exchanging recipes is an intimate act. It’s an act between equals. But, I had to have that recipe. 

Up until the time I mustered the courage to ask her for it, her whole countenance was scary to me.  Tall, almost ostrich-like, she has champagne colored hair that she wore in a bubble hairstyle. She had angelfish lips with perfectly applied frosted lipstick and I only saw her in pencil skirts and very pointy shoes. Her eyes had a persistent sleepy look about them, probably straining under the weight of rows of false eyelashes. Thick black eyeliner forming an Egyptian cat –eye at the ends completed the look; in other words, a perfect vision of a 1960s fashion Goddess. She was inscrutable, so I really couldn’t tell if she even liked kids.

“Miss Pritchard”

“Yes, Laraine?”

“You know those cookies you brought two weeks ago?”

“Yes, you liked them?” A smile began to spread across her lips.

“Yeah, a-LOT!”

“Would you like the recipe?”


“You mean, ‘yes’.”

“Yeah, uh, I mean ‘yes’!”

And that was it. After that I always felt there was something special between us that none of the other kids had. Wait, this is beginning to sound really gay…

Here’s the recipe.

The Best Ginger Snaps

1½ sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2¼ cup all purpose flour
2½ teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup of white sugar

1. Cream the butter and brown sugar in your Kitchen Aid Mixer. Beat in the molasses and then the egg.

2. Sift the dry ingredients together (except for the white sugar)and mix into the wet ingredients. Turn this mixture onto a sheet of wax paper. Knead it if necessary to blend everything.

3. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours.

4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the cookie sheet.

5. Shape the dough into 1 inch balls and roll in the white sugar and place them about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Bake until browned or about 10 minutes. Remove and let cook on wire racks. This is important if you want them to be ‘snappy’

Makes 3½ to 4 dozen