Monday, August 20, 2012

Gingersnaps, Grandma Jeannie and the High Holidays (recipe, pareve)

The High Holidays are fast approaching- early or late- depending on your point of view. What it means to me, as the Mother, Grandmother, Wife, Daughter, who prepares all the meals is that I better get cracking!
My menus are basically the same every year. Occasionally my desserts are different; but basically, everyone knows what to expect and they happily anticipate the familiar flavors. Where did these recipes come from?  They came from recipes handed down through my Mother’s Mother- my Grandma Jeannie. I imagine my Great Grandma Sara made them first-but those are not my memories.
One of my strong recollections before I was six years old was one of eating “Zuzus” in my Grandparent’s kitchen. We all lived in the same building; and so it was easy for me to visit my Grandmother every day in the afternoon. What I didn’t know at the time was that she was very sick and had been for about five years. She died when I was six years old. What I do remember was eating those yummy “Zuzus”. I don’t know if that was a brand name or was just a name Grandma Jeannie used for them but they were yummy. We now call them Gingersnaps. They are significant in my life because of this memory; but also because they are an important component in my Grandma Jeannie’s Stuffed Cabbage recipe. They get ground up and added to the sauce which makes it a spicy sweet and sour holiday treat. At some point, Grandma must have made the Stuffed Cabbage herself because she taught her housekeeper, Margaret, and my Mother’s housekeeper, Anna Mae, how to prepare it. In those days, they used packaged Gingersnaps which made the job a little easier.
Anna Mae worked for my family for 60 years! She taught me how to prepare all the family recipes that were taught to her by Grandma Jeannie and I still make them today. In my case, I even make the non-dairy gingersnaps myself.  As I crunch down on the first “Zuzus” that come out of the oven, I remember being a little girl and sitting in my Grandma Jeannie’s kitchen having a snack. And, as I smell the Stuffed Cabbage, more memories come flooding back. I have added a vegetarian version of the Stuffed Cabbage recipe for my daughter.  I hope these recipes never get lost. They tie the generations together. Here I am, so many decades later, getting ready to make those “Zuzus” and begin my Stuffed Cabbage. I hope the wonderful smells that fill the kitchen waft up to heaven and remind Grandma that I am still remembering her with love and making her part of our Rosh Hashana meals.
Here is my recipe for Gingersnaps aka “Zuzus”. The recipes for Grandma Jeannie’s Stuffed Cabbage and my Veggie version are on the Tuesday, August 24, 2010 post:  Happy Holiday Cooking!

This recipe is easy, spicy and delicious on its own or used in my stuffed cabbage recipe.
Prep time: Dough- 10 min.  Chilling time- 60 min.  Forming cookies- 20 min.  Baking- 10 min.
12 tablespoons non-dairy margarine-softened
1 cup dark brown sugar-firmly packed
1 egg
1/3 cup molasses
2 ¼ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 large cookie sheets
baking parchment
cooling racks
electric mixer
1.      Cream margarine and sugar in bowl of mixer. Beat in egg and molasses.
2.      Mix remaining ingredients into batter on low speed. Wrap dough in waxed paper. Chill one hour.
3.      Preheat oven to: 375 F.
4.      Line cookies sheets with parchment.
5.      Remove dough from refrigerator. Pinch off pieces of dough large enough to form one inch balls. Flatten balls with hands and place them three inches apart on cookie sheets. Bake 10 minutes or until browned on bottom. Cool on racks before serving as snacks or pulverizing for my Stuffed Cabbage recipe.

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