Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ginger Snaps or Molasses Cookies

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

We grew up with these cookies. On each camping trip with Aunt Dottie, she brought these cookies. After not making them for years, I made a batch a few months ago and then again this weekend. They are really tasty and very easy to make.  Dottie called them molasses cookies but they are the same as a ginger snap.  I updated them with a couple of chunks of crystallized ginger in each cookie.

Dottie's recipe uses shortening. Butter can be used instead but it will make them a little less puffy and a little browner.  These are wonderful with butter, too.

Cream in a stand mixer:
3/4 c shortening
1 c sugar

Add in:
1/4 c molasses
1 egg

Gradually add in:
2 c flour
2 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t cloves
1/2 t ginger
1/2 t salt

Mix until the dough just begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. Roll into 1" balls and add in ginger chunks, if desired. Roll the balls into a sugar. Bake at 375 degrees F for 8-10 minutes until the tops of the cookies slightly crack and just begin to brown.  This makes 18 cookies.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cottage Cheese (Ricotta) Cake

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

My friend Sherry mentioned a family cheesecake recipe that has passed down through several generations. I love family recipes so I asked her for it. And I'm so glad I did--what a great recipe.

A few generations ago, Sherry's grandmother made this cheesecake with dry cottage cheese which was pressed through a sieve. Now it is made with ricotta. There is a secret ingredient to this recipe: crushed pineapple. No, this is not a pineapple cheesecake. The pineapple is so subtle that if you don't know it is there, you can't identify the unique flavors. The pineapple adds sweetness and texture.

This is a simple recipe and the refrigerated cheesecake gets better each day (if it lasts that long!).

For the crust and crumb topping:

1 lb graham crackers, crushed
1 stick melted butter
1/4 c sugar

Blend these together with a fork. Reserve 1/4 c of the crumbs. Press the crumbs into 2  9-inch pie plates or 1 9x13 baking pan.

For the filling:

Mix together:
2 lbs ricotta cheese
4 eggs
1 c sugar
8 oz evaporated milk
1 c drained crushed pineapple (in heavy syrup)

Pour the filling into the pie plates or pan.  Sprinkle the remaining crumbs on the top. Drain a small bottle of maraschino cherries and place the cherries on the cheesecake.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until the center jiggles but is not firm. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for several hours before serving.