not kosher cookies
When Saucy was growing up her Granny would make a specific kind of gingersnap. She kept them cold - they were as crispy and crispy could get. They were so spicy they were almost hot. This part might sound a little strange, but Granny served them buttered.
Um, yes. Cold butter spread on the underside. And sometimes, a little pinch of salt. Saucy remembers these cookies coming out of the fridge and being set out alongside the cold butter dish. The cookies were so hard and crispy, spreading the cool butter on their backsides wasn't even that difficult.
It was not, however, kosher. The Granny that served these cookies could have cared less. The other Granny in Saucy's life would have starved to death next to a tray of these cookies. These cookies are made with a very specific ingredient.
Okay, take a minute to get your head wrapped around it. Non-kosher Granny would fry up a pan of bacon and render the fat cleanly into a measuring cup. She did this not only by carefully cooking the bacon, she strained the drippings through paper towel-lined sieve. This removed all bacon bits and left her with a clean source of animal fat.
I know. Ugh.
The fat was kept in the fridge and Granny used it for frying onions and making gingersnaps. If you try these cookies, your bacon fat should be solid - not liquid and fresh from the bacon pan. Render it clean and cool it in the fridge. Set it out to room temperature so you can cream it easily with the butter.
Saucy made Veto some bacon, rendered the fat, and made the gingersnaps. She just needed to try it, once. She wanted to smell those cookies, cold in her fridge. They are quite like she remembered, but were she to do it again, she'd add more molasses. Granny didn't cook with recipes, you see. The instructions were pretty much "add enough until it looks right" or "when it's shiny, you have enough"... so here is the recipe Saucy came up with:
1 cup butter
1 cup rendered bacon fat
1 and 1/2 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
1 tablespoons molasses (Saucy will use 2 tbsp next time)
1 to 2 tablespoons water
3 and 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
In stand mixer, cream butter, bacon fat and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg, followed by corn syrup, molasses and water.
Sift together the dry ingredients and blend into the butter mixture in four parts, adding extra water if the mixture is dry. Your dough will be ready when you can roll a teaspoon of it between your hands in a soft, shiny ball that has no cracks in it.
Place the rolled balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet and press down (Granny used a fork) with the back of a spatula. Saucy rolled some of the balls in sanding sugar but truth be told, she's not a fan - they're a bit too sweet this way and the charm of these cookies is in their bite.
Bake at 375 degrees for 11-12 minutes. They will be firm after baking and easy to remove from the pan. As they cool, they will get very crispy. Very.
In working with this dough, Saucy realized that it would also make a nice rolled cookie - the dough did not spread much when cooking and they are as evenly flat as pancakes.
And get this: not a trace of bacon flavour. Just a really spicy, gingery cookie. But definitely not kosher.
posted Wednesday, April 18, 2012