Sutter’s Fort Gingersnaps

Sutter's Fort GingersnapsHoldin’ Down The Fort

Sometimes you don’t realize how good you have it until you don’t. Yesterday my daughter and I participated in a program that 4th graders at her school get a chance to do every year. We were part of the Suttter’s Fort ELP program, which basically means we become the museum.

For almost 3 months, the kids have been studying the history of the fort and its occupants. Each child is given their own identity and is required to research that person’s history at the fort. The kids wear costumes the whole time and participate in activities that would have normally happened at the fort: like weaving, candle making, and cooking.

In order for the kids to do all this great stuff, a parent has to volunteer to help out and/or run one of the activities—and be in period costume as well. I chose to run the bakery. (I figured I’d stick with my strengths.) Baking bread in a beehive oven is no easy task. It’s an all-day affair, and I have had a new appreciation for my oven and my dishwasher, and let’s not forget the washing machine…

I can’t even imagine the amount of back-breaking work required just to survive as a settler at that time. If just baking the bread took all day, how long would it take to do everything else? And don’t get me started on laundry. I get why bathing and clothes washing only happened monthly. Yes. Monthly.

Our pioneers did know how to enjoy life, and all of the hard work made for some great get-togethers with music and neighbors. They danced, they laughed and they ate tasty treats like these gingersnap cookies we made in the oven yesterday after the bread was done.

Sutter’s Fort Gingersnaps

¾ cup butter
1 cup sugar, plus more for rolling
4 tablespoon molasses
1 egg
2 cups  flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger

Cream the butter together with the sugar. Stir in the molasses and egg. Sift together dry ingredients, and beat into butter mixture until smooth. Put the dough in the fridge, and allow to cool for about 30 minutes.

Shape into 1-inch round balls, and roll each in a bowl of sugar. Place on greased cookie sheet 2-inches apart.

Bake at 375º for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on if you want a soft or crispy cookie.

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