Warming a Kitchen with smells of ginger and cinnamon

Celebrate the turning of the seasons with the warm, kitchen aromas that come with these recipes: ginger, cloves, cinnamon, molasses, and raisins are just a few many delightful smells.

Here are two traditional samplings from my Pennsylvania recipe box from the 1960s and a 1990s updated version.

gingerbread 006Gingersnaps, Ada Thomas, 1960s

This tends to be a softer version of the traditional crispy gingersnap.

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup baking molasses
  • 1 tablespoon (baking) soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup melted shortening (lard). I used butter.
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups flour to start, add 1 more cup to stiffen, if needed

Mix baking soda into molasses. Add brown sugar and 1 beaten egg. Add 1 cup melted shortening, lard or butter. Mix ginger and salt with 3 cups flour. Add more flour to make a stiff dough. (Remember the more flour, the softer the cookie).

  • Form into balls and dip in (granulated) sugar.
  • Drop on cookie sheets.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
  • Store in airtight container.

To make an orange-sugar sprinkle, mix yellow and red food coloring for desired color (see package directions). Add granulated sugar one tablespoon at a time. Mix. Sprinkle generously over baked and cooled cookies.

Gingersnaps are a crispy version of the gingerbread cookie and traditionally snap when eaten. They are also known as ginger biscuits, ginger thins, ginger rolls, spicy cookies, Lebkuchen in Germany and pepparkakor in Scandinavian countries. The earliest written version of this cookie dates back to the late 1200s and early 1300s in present day Germany.

Gingersnaps: 1990s updated version.

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ¼ cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and shortening until light and fluffy. Add sugar, molasses and egg. Sift dry ingredients. Combine with above mixture. Form 1 inch balls.  With sugared bottom of glass, press balls flat. Bake on ungreased sheet 8 to 10 minutes. Remove when cool. Store in airtight container.

Back to my Pennsylvania Recipe Box. Not sure about the history of Nottie Camp or if there was such a place, but the recipe is delicious. The cake has a crumbly, coffee cake texture and works well as a weekend breakfast or mid-morning snack. *If you’re not a fan of raisins, feel free to eliminate these sun-dried grapes. It won’t affect the texture of the cake.

Nottie Camp Raisin Cake, Pennsylvania 1960s

Mix the following three ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil, until the sugar dissolves:

  • 1 package seedless raisins (approximately 1 cup) or more if desired.
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • Remove from stove and add 1 cup shortening (I used butter). Let cool.
  • Mix together in a separate bowl:
  • 1 ½ teaspoons soda (baking soda)
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cloves

Mix the liquid and dry ingredients.

Optional: Top with 1 cup chopped pecans (I add pecans to everything).

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes in a greased 9×13 glass dish.


1003 Household Hints and Work Savers, New York, 1948

Raisins for cakes and breads will be plump and juicy if soaked in warm water before being added to the batter or dough.

Not all in one lump, please. Keep raisins, citrons, currants or other fruits evenly distributed throughout your cakes by dusting with flour before mixing them into your batter.

Zip up your gingerbread and molasses cookies by adding a bit of grated orange peel to the batter.

Light-colored molasses can be darkened to make dark gingerbread by adding a teaspoonful of melted chocolate to each cup of molasses.