I came across this promotional cookbook from 1928 by the Swans Down Cake flour Company, called "Cake Secrets". A recipe called Old Fashion Ginger Snaps caught my eye, not because it was a great sounding recipe. The interesting factor here was that the recipe contains no eggs or chemical leavener. Am I headed for disaster? Am I about to recreate paper thin molasses toffee? Then it became really intriguing when I read that this cookie was boiled on the stovetop and then baked off. "Okay" I thought, now I have to try these.
Old Fashion Ginger Snaps - "Cake Secrets" 1928
|Sifted Swans Down Cake Flour||1 1/4 Cup|
|Sifted Brown Sugar||2/3 Cup|
Sift flour once, measure, add salt and ginger, and sift three times. Heat Molasses, butter and sugar to boiling point. Add flour mixture and beat throughly. Chill and drop from spoon onto greased baking sheet. Bake in moderate oven (by the way that is 350 degrees F.) seven minutes. Makes 4 dozen cookies.
Reading through the recipe the biggest thing that stands out is that I am sifting the cake flour a total of 4 times. 4 TIMES, don't get me wrong, cake flour clumps very easily and needs to be sifted. In the end it is being poured into boiling liquid so it is going to clump up and sifting before measuring and once afterward makes perfect sense to me, but I want to be true to the recipe. So, yes, I sifted it 4 times. I even sifted the brown sugar before measuring which on a humid day makes a mess of a sifter. Of course I made the mistake of sifting the brown sugar measurement before the cake flour (probably because I was still fighting the thought of all that unnessary sifting)
Now I have to wash my sifter that has brown sugar glued to it. How do you dry a wet sifter quickly? My solution - a hair dryer.
The flour, salt and spice are sifted together on a piece of wax paper. The sugar, molasses and butter are heating in a saucepan. Once the ingredients in saucepan reach a boil the flour mixture is stirred in. In the end, it looks like caramel sauce. According to the recipe this mixture needs to be chilled before baking.
I still have my doubts since I have the direction to try to cook cold caramel sauce in a 350 degree oven for only 7 minutes. Plus with the amount of batter chilling in the refrigerator I think a yield of 4 dozen cookies is a little overzealous.
After chilling, the first batch I baked while following the recipe turned into a pile of goo. Time to go back to the drawing board. Here is what I know - this recipe is similar Florentines although that type of cookie has a lower quanity of flour and the addition of cream. The biggest difference is that the mixture is not chilled before baking, it's either drop immediately onto a baking sheet or set aside for 20 to 30 minutes so the batter isn't completely liquified.
I allowed the chilled batter come up to room temperature and I bumped up the oven temperature to 375 F and result was more like a florentine lace cookie. The texture was similiar, but the flavor was definitely lacking. Although the recipe says it's and Old Fashion Ginger Snap the ginger flavor was not there so some adjustment need to made there. Fortunately, they did get the stamp of approval from my husband.