Cooking at Home
Milford resident Karen Raleigh shares her gingersnap cookie recipe.
We all know that you don't need to work in a restaurant to be a great baker or chef. So, this week, we're featuring a Milford resident, Karen Raleigh, who answers our "Chef's Table," questions and shares with us a recipe for a seasonal favorite: gingersnap cookies.
Have you always loved cooking?
I have always loved eating! I think that an interest in food always leads to an interest in cooking. Unless you are wealthy enough to eat at high-end restaurants on a regular basis, you either cook or eat a lot of mediocre food.
Who was your biggest influence?
My mother was my first influence. She is a good cook and an adventurous eater. My mother-in-law is a great influence. She taught me a lot of basics about building sauces, making roasts—things that my mom didn't necessarily cook. But I mostly learned from watching cooking shows and I read a lot of food blogs. I love The Pioneer Woman Cooks and Smitten Kitchen especially, because their recipes are reliable and they break every recipe down and photograph every step of the process. Anyone can make their food and have it turn out right.
Three ingredients you can't live without?
Butter, garlic, cheese.
I was cooking in someone else's kitchen and mistook the salt for sugar. I made the most delicious smelling, totally inedible apple squares. It broke my heart; I had just picked the apples that morning!
Best thing you ever ate?
I would have a hard time picking the best thing I ever ate, but I will never forget one meal I had at the Mesa Grille in New York. It was a perfect poached egg on sweet potato hash. It was such a simple dish, but perfectly cooked.
What are your favorite things to cook for your family?
My family are not adventurous eaters, so I make meatballs, tacos, homemade fish sticks, frittatas. I just try to make as much from scratch using as many whole ingredients as possible.
#1 Cooking tip?
Don't be afraid to try things. Whenever I buy something, I ask myself if it's something I could make myself. It usually is; you just have to get used to thinking that way. I use my bread machine a couple times a week to make our sandwich bread and pizza dough. Next up, I'm going to try to start making my own yogurt.
2/3 C. Crisco Oil
1 C sugar
1/4 C molasses
2 C flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Mix oil, sugar, egg, and molasses. Sift dry ingredients and add. Roll by tablespoon into ball and then in sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.
I usually bake mine for 10 minutes, but it also depends on your oven. DO NOT DOUBLE THIS RECIPE. If you want more than one batch, mix them separately—they do not come out right if you double the recipe.