Catholic Recipe: Gingersnaps
Christmas Day is over and amid the crumpled wrapping paper, empty boxes, and atmosphere of exchange-itis, you wonder to yourself what you can do to restore happy order to the household. St. Stephen's Day won''t let you down.
After the Ascension, St. Stephen was one of those chosen to be a deacon of the Church. Stephen was "full of grace and fortitude, did great wonders and signs among the people." Inevitably, he was charged with blasphemy by the non-Christian rulers and stoned to death, thereby becoming the first martyr.
It was on Stephen's Day that King Wenceslas, who also became a saint, went forth to carry alms to the poor of his kingdom.
St. Stephen's Day, December 26, is also known as Boxing Day in England, because in olden times the earthenware banks or boxes belonging to apprentice workers were filled with gifts of money.
We might launch a new custom based on this old one by filling small boxes with cookies and giving them to neighbors and friends in remembrance of St. Stephen. If your Christmas cookie supply has been exhausted, make these quick and easy gingersnaps. They'll fill up the boxes quickly, and they're really delicious. Have the children mark each box with a tiny cross.
From The Cook's Blessings
Mix and sift the first 5 ingredients.
Sift again twice; return to sifter.
Beat shortening or butter until creamy. Add 1 cup sugar gradually, continuing to beat.
Beat in egg and molasses. Sift about 1/4 of the flour mixture over molasses mixture; stir to blend well. Repeat until all flour mixture is added.
Form a teaspoon of dough into small balls by rolling them lightly between your palms. Roll balls in sugar. Place about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 12 minutes at 350° or until tops are slightly rounded, crackly, and light brown. Remove from pans; cool on racks.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.Recipe Source: Cook's Blessings, The by Demetria Taylor, Random House, New York, 1965