So here is something I have not told you all yet. I have stopped cooking for my clients. I no longer describe myself as a personal chef. It started this past summer when our schedules were not aligning well and I decided it made sense to take a break until the fall. Truthfully, I was glad to have the break. I started my business when Graham was 18 months old and I cooked for my clients through my second pregnancy, nursing, and sleepless nights. I cooked reliably and without a break (except for vacation) through the three most exhausting and challenging years of my life.
I loved having my business. I loved the creativity and loved feeding people. I know there are many of you out there who dream of being able to do what I did and I have gotten emails telling me so. I know I was very fortunate to be able to follow my passion in the way that I did. I just got burnt out. It wasn’t the cooking or the feeding people, it was the menu planning, shopping, and stressing about finding the time to cook to the standard that I held myself. My boys have always napped reliably and I have spent almost every single nap of their lives rushing around my kitchen like a mad woman.
Not that much has changed. There is always something I am cooking for. My visions of sitting on the couch eating bon bons while reading War and Peace are just that – visions. I figure I’ll spend another year attempting to relax and then will probably dive back into the world of personal cheffing when my big boy goes to kindergarten next fall.
Randy would tell you the downside to me not being a personal chef anymore is the lack of cookies in our house. Once a week, when I brought my clients dinner, I would also bring them a treat (hence the name of this blog). Often those treats were cookies and we always had the leftovers in our cookie jar. I am still baking plenty but not as many cookies. Randy complains regularly about this fact. So, I chose to make one of his favorite kinds – this time from Holly B.
I find Gingersnaps and all the other cookies that fall into the spicy molasses world to be a bit elusive. I want the perfect one and I have never found it. Chewy but not gooey. Crisp around the edges, soft in the middle. Really spicy and not too sweet. Rich molasses flavor but not bitter. Does that cookie exist?
This cookie is pretty close. Flavor-wise it’s exactly what I want. Just the right amount of spice with a strong molasses tang coming through. For me, the texture is a little off, maybe just a bit too cakey and with too much puff. Still, it’s a good recipe until I find my dream one. Do you have a perfect gingersnap? Care to share?
You can buy Holly’s cookbook by visiting this site.
One Year Ago: Miso Carrot Sauce
With Love & Butter
Makes a lot of cookies
3/4 stick butter, at room temperature
1/2 stick margarine, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, plus more for coating
1 1/4 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. molasses
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
5 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. ground ginger
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. allspice
Preheat the oven to 375 F with the rack in the top position. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or grease lightly.
In the bowl of an electric mixer cream together the butter, margarine, sugars, and molasses. Add the eggs and egg yolk, mixing well. Now add the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices and combine thoroughly, scraping the sides of the bowl several times with a rubber spatula.
Plop mounded teaspoonfuls of dough into a shallow bowl filled with about 1 cup of granulated sugar. (DT: I made my cookies bigger and used a medium sized ice cream scoop.) Roll the dough in the sugar until totally coated and shaped into a ball. Space the balls 1 1/2 inches apart on the baking sheets, flattening the top of each cookie slightly with your fingers.
One pan at a time, bake the cookies for 5 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for 5 to 9 minutes. The cookies will be done when they settle after puffing up. If you like your gingersnaps extra crisp, bake a little longer. Cool, then store in a container with a tight-fitting lid.