Happy Homemaker, Ph.D.

A novice homemaker's attempts to use her engineering Ph.D. to serve her family

Kitchen Folly Friday

on December 16, 2011

I’m sure Dorothy meant well when she shared her recipe with the Willing Workers to be included in the cookbook.  I’m sure she probably did win Grand Champion with those ginger snaps.  I also think Miss Dorothy may have been a bit like one of my grandmas who didn’t really measure and had her own way of doing things, and that writing them down may not have been a big priority.

I’ve been craving something sweet and spicy, and ginger snaps sounded good.  Really good.  Since I don’t remember Mom making these much, I searched my recipe books and found Dorothy’s recipe.  With some extra time this morning, I thought I would make the dough, let it chill while I went to school to grade, and then bake the cookies this evening.

I read through the directions.  I had all the ingredients.  The process seemed a bit strange, but I’ve never made ginger snaps before.  What do I know, right?

I’m good at reading and following directions when I want to.   You don’t excel in analytical chemistry lab if you don’t pay attention to detail, and I had that down.

Or, so I thought.

The first step in the recipe said to combine the dry ingredients.  I looked down the out-of-order list of supplies.  The things I saw that I considered “dry” were sugar, flour, salt, soda, and baking powder.  I sifted them together, as directed.

Then, I read the next line.  Cream shortening and sugar together.


The sugar was already dispersed with my flour!   I have made cookies many times and have always creamed the sugar with the butter, margarine, or shortening as the first step.  I thought it was strange that the sugar would be mixed with the flour this time, but it was dry, wasn’t it?

Unsure of how to proceed, I continued with the steps.  I added the eggs (which were not mentioned anywhere in the method!), vanilla, and vinegar.

Then, I found my molasses was not only 3 years beyond it’s recommended usage date, but was also less than the volume I needed for the recipe.

I’ve never bought molasses.  This jar was some that a friend brought when we were cleaning up from the tornado that hit our town one summer, you guessed it, three years ago.

So, on my way home from work this afternoon, I’ll buy molasses.  I’ll continue with the recipe and see if it turns out.  I’ll share a re-written version of the recipe if it does, one that’s a bit more mistake-proofed.

Dear Dorothy was likely an excellent, prize-winning baker, but she could use some tips on writing work instructions.  Let’s hope she created a recipe that is robust against these kinds of blunders that I’m making!


(See how these turned out by reading my follow-up post.)


5 responses to “Kitchen Folly Friday

  1. Laurel.hill says:

    HA, I think Dorthy and I cook and write the same way 🙂

  2. Trying not to guffaw here, but I have had this happen to me more times than I can count (usually my own fault, though!) Glad they still turned out!

    • Dana K says:

      Well, this was my fault. I should have read the directions more carefully before I started or at least questioned a little more why the sugar would be with the flour when it usually isn’t… 🙂 I figured I’d at least have a good story out of my blunder! 🙂 I hope others will laugh with me and see that Ph.D.s can be really, uh, challenged in some areas.

  3. […] if you didn’t read about my adventures with the ginger snaps Friday, read here […]

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