Mom’s Gingersnaps

mix the dough (and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight – if you have time- to blend the  flavors)

shape into balls and roll in sugar

just baked gingersnaps – I shared these with my family…..

all except the last 3…

Gingersnap Cookies


  • 3/4 cup crisco shortening
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed to measure
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 1/4 cups (Martha White) self rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves


  1. Sift brown sugar over crisco.  Mix well with a wooden spoon or electric mixer
  2. Add egg to sugar/crisco mixture
  3. Add molasses to sugar/crisco/egg mixture
  4. Sift flour, soda, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet mixture and stir until well combined
  6. Cover dough and refrigerate overnight
  7. The next day, remove dough from refrigerator about an hour prior to baking cookies
  8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  9. Use a #50 scoop and form balls of dough
  10. Roll cookie dough balls in granulated sugar to coat
  11. Place on parchment lined baking sheet (don’t flatten the round cookie dough balls)
  12. {Bake approximately 10 minutes, watching closely.}  After about 5 minutes baking, the cookies will puff.  After about 7-8 total minutes baking, the cookies should fall and crack
  13. Remove from oven between 8-10 minutes baking time.
  14. Cool on wire rack.  Store in covered container at room temperature


Mom’s cookbook notes dated August 10, 1945

I found this today

folded inside an old cookbook.

It’s written on lined notebook paper

with a #2 pencil.  I recognize my Mom’s handwriting.

She would have been 14 years old at the time this was written—

tune: Row Row Your Boat

  • Rows, Rows, Rows of jars
  • On the pantry shelf
  • They’ll keep us fit
  • They’ll do our bit
  • We can them all ourself
  • Can Can all you can
  • Can Can all you can
  • For the winter you must plan
  • You must be happy and sing
  • As you turn each ring
  • Be sure you screw each ring tight
  • So it will keep through the night
  • Fill each jar with car
  • For the fruit can easily bare
  • When winter is drawing near
  • You won’t have to worry when it gets here
  • You can eat and eat all you can
  • Then put away your pots and pans

(I’m not sure about a few of the words, but the point of the song is clear-can the fruit, etc. Prepare for winter….)


Swans Down Cake Flour biscuits

I found some old cookbooks today

The recipe was marked with a #2 pencil ‘x,’ whatever that meant. I hope it meant ‘this is a keeper.’

Slathered with apple butter—the little biscuits were delicious

Swans Down Cake Flour Biscuits


  • 120 grams Swans Down Cake flour (1c.)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 30 grams frozen crisco (2 1/2 T)
  • 1/4 c sweet milk


  1. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in bowl
  2. Cut in crisco with pastry blender
  3. Add sweet milk and stir with fork; continue to stir until dough forms ball and clears side of bowl
  4. Gently form into 1/2″ thick round; cut with biscuit cutters
  5. Bake on ungreased iron skillet 10-12 minutes at 450 degrees

DON’T discard your slightly used whole spices


To make chai tea concentrate (a recipe for another day), I steep

  • orange zest
  • fresh ginger
  • Ceylon cinnamon sticks
  • whole star anise
  • whole cloves
  • whole cardamon pods
  • whole black peppercorns
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • loose black tea with orange

-after straining the liquid concentrate, I allow the spices to dry for a couple of weeks in open air, spread across a plate

-then, simply crush the larger spices and grind in small coffee grinder

The dust/powder seeps out the side of the grinder, and the aroma when the grinder lid is removed is ‘breath…taking’.  (1st press)

I sifted the larger remains from the grinder (2nd press)

-and, Don’t discard the parchment paper used to gather the ground spices; the spice oils and dust left behind will be perfect to wrap gingerbread cookie dough!

endless uses for those fall-feeling recipes

recycled Penzey’s (my favorite spices) jars

inspired by JGW, who ‘repurposes’ everything

recycle/repurpose/reuse/….feel good….


Ceylon cinnamon, using only the thin inner bark, has a finer, less dense, and more crumbly texture, and is considered to be more aromatic and more subtle in flavour than cassia. Cassia has a much stronger (somewhat harsher) flavour than Ceylon cinnamon, is generally a medium to light reddish brown, hard and woody in texture, and thicker (2–3 mm (0.079–0.12 in) thick), as all of the layers of bark are used

Ceylon cinnamon sticks (or quills) have many thin layers and can easily be made into powder using a coffee or spice grinder, whereas cassia sticks are much harder.


almost Seaside scones

I strolled through the (hot!) Seaside, FL Farmers Market a few weeks ago. One of the vendors offered scones, made from his Mother’s recipe.

They smelled faintly of lard, instantly triggering a memory of my Mom’s piecrust and biscuits.

They tasted of ‘just sweet enough,’ and were too easily consumed.


Today’s first attempt to recreate the Seaside scones:  the dough was soft and fluffy; the scones tasted flat and too salty

Today’s second attempt – the scones were not exactly the same, but they were close enough to the Seaside scones  that I can put to rest my obsession to recreate the brunch staple.

(iPhone photos)

This recipe yields a scone studded with black specks of vanilla bean, reminiscent of dark broken sea shells in the sand, an overall tone as golden as the beach sunset, a texture light and fluffy as the bountiful clouds above the Gulf waters, a taste that just hints at sweetness, and a raw sugar crunch on the top reminiscent of the oyster shells in the sand on St George Island.

Vanilla Scones

(adapted from here)


  • 8 oz King Arthur all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla bean sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons cubed cold butter
  • 1 (scant) cup heavy whipping cream
  • raw sugar for sprinkling


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, vanilla sugar, and salt in bowl; whisk to combine
  3. Add cubed butter to flour mixture and rub into dry ingredients, lifting and dropping  flour/butter mixture to aerate
  4. Make a well in the center of the flour/butter mixture
  5. Add about 3/4 cup of heavy cream.
  6. Stir gently with fork, just until mixed.
  7. Continue to add just enough cream to moisten all the dry ingredients; I used approximately 1 cup less 1 tablespoon
  8. Gently pour dough out of mixing bowl onto well floured surface
  9. Knead 3 or 4 turns
  10. Roll to 1 inch thickness
  11. Cut with well floured biscuit cutter
  12. Place on light color baking sheet (I greased with lard and did not use parchment paper–the scone bottoms were brown and crunchy)
  13. Refrigerate about 30 minutes (if time permits) while oven preheats
  14. Brush tops of scones with remaining cream; sprinkle with raw sugar
  15. Bake 10-12 minutes; mine were done in 10 minutes
  16. Cool 10 minutes on wire rack
  17. Enjoy!  yield: approximately 8, 2-inch scones
Next Morning Update:
Scones left covered on the counter overnight will be soft, slightly more dense, and moist the next morning.  They will begin to crumble slightly and I noticed the very faint aroma of lard.  Perfect!  Almost like those from Seaside!



Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies


You have to really want to bake if you are baking at the beach.

I read a recipe for raspberry cheesecake brownies a few weeks ago,  The swirl of chocolate through the raspberry cheesecake layer looked like swirling ocean waves, so…..

I dusted off the mixer, found a couple of bowls, and a 9×13 dish, and bake I did!

I had a great aunt who was my hero.  She was a gardner, often traipsing through the woods in search of herbs or leaves or mushrooms.  She was an artist, painting onto canvas everything from my uncle’s work boots to the cypres knees of Reelfoot Lake.  She would have been the most wonderful Home Sciences (Home Economics) teacher, but she grew up in an era when education was a luxury and that luxury she never experienced.

She was a wonderful Southern cook.  I remember her traveling to the north to visit family and she always took her cast iron skillet.  At the time, I was a young teenager and found that act very odd…why did she need her skillet?  Everyone surely had a well-seasoned iron skillet.

Little did I know at the time that everyone did not have a well-seasoned, southern fried chicken and cornbread iron skillet. Especially not the family in the north.

(iPhone Hipstamatic photo)

And now, here I am; I have come to the beach with my baking scale.  In fact, I don’t often travel without my trusty digital scale.  I am one of those bakers–I love to weigh everything.

So, as I listen to the Gulf waves crash onto the beach, the brownies are baking in the oven. I didn’t have any of my handy-dandy fancy kitchen gadgets; they are all at home.  But, I do have my hands, a few spoons, and the mixer, which will soon be properly stored in the back of the cabinet.

Stay tuned for the tasting…..the batter was delicious as I licked it from my fingers…

Recipe coming soon.

German Chocolate Cake

Everything is cute when it’s little.  Baby pigs, puppies, mini muffins, cake…

6 inch – 4 layer birthday cake for my friend

The filling is rich and chunky with coconut and pecans; the cake layers are moist. This is delicious!  There are several steps, though they are all quite simple.


German Chocolate Cake

(adapted from here)



  • 2 egg yolks
  • 6 oz Carnation evaporated milk
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 2 T light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 T butter
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1 c shredded sweetened coconut
  • 3/4 c (KY Nut Corp)pecans, toasted and chopped

Cake Layers

  • 2 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped fine (I used 64% Scharffen Berger)
  • 2 T Dutch processed cocoa, sifted (I used Pernigotti) plus extra for dusting pans
  • 1/4 t instant espresso powder
  • 1/4 c boiling water
  • 1 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 6 T unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 6 T sour cream


  1. Make the filling (up to 3 days ahead); whisk yolks, evaporated milk, sugars, and salt in pan.
  2. Add butter and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to bubble and begins to thicken.
  3. Remove from heat and strain into bowl.
  4. Add vanilla and coconut (don’t add pecans until ready to fill cake)
  5. Cool then refrigerate until needed.
  6. Make the cake layers: Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease and dust two 6-inch pans with cocoa (not flour-you don’t want white spots on your beautiful chocolate cake)
  7. Combine both chocolates and espresso powder into small bowl; add water and allow to sit about a minute to melt; Whisk to combine and sit aside to cool to room temperature
  8. Beat butter, sugars, and salt in mixer 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy
  9. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition
  10. Add vanilla and chocolate and mix until combined
  11. With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with dry.  Stop mixer to scrape mixer bowl as needed. Mix just until combined; actually, stirring by hand is best at this stage
  12. Divide batter evenly between the two cake pans
  13. Bake until toothpick inserted into center of cake tests done (removed clean with only a few crumbs); approximately 25 minutes-all ovens vary
  14. Cool in pan 10 minutes; then remove and cool completely on wire rack
  15. When layers are cool, slice top dome off with serrated knife; layers are tender-handle carefully
  16. Slice each layer in half, horizontally.  (Inserting two toothpicks into the side of each layer, one above the other, will help you line up the layers when putting the cake layer back together)
  17. Remove the filling from the refrigerator; stir in pecans
  18. Use 1/2 c filling between bottom three layers, spreading to the edge
  19. Spread remaining filling on top of cake
  20. Store in refrigerator; best served at room temperature

(iPhone photos)

update from the Birthday Girl!

I could eat this whole cake by myself!!!! The chocolate flavor is wonderful! Thank you!!!