I’ll always associate gingersnaps with Christmas, so much so that I have a feeling I’d find it wrong to make a batch of these Orange Spiced Gingersnaps any other time of the year. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I grew up decorating gingerbread houses every Christmas break, and therefore that hot, ginger-molasses-y aroma is weld solidly to glittering lights and nativity scenes and a massive Christmas tree taking up a fourth of our piano room.
The two months preceding Christmas are my favorite time of the year, despite the frigid air up here in tundra land. I think I’ve built it up in my brain so much that it’s more the memories intoxicating me than the holiday itself. It’s been years since my family decorated our house with Christmas lights, and as I’m living in an apartment this year we won’t be able to participate in that small gesture of holiday spirit. But every single year I get so excited to drive at night, simply because there are houses adorned with little lights. I remember how we used to put a timer on ours so they’d come on at the same time every evening, right as the sun hit the horizon, and I always had this longing to be there the moment they turned on. I don’t know if I ever got there in time.
I was always there for the tree decorating, though – if not to help, to watch. Mom was always painfully organized when it came to ornaments – Andrew, Mickey, and I each had our own ornament box (which grew to multiples over the years), because every year we received at least one ornament that would become ours as soon as we moved away and married (which I have, but my box remains in Texas. Of course, I don’t have room for it in this teeny apartment). By the time my brother, sister, and I were in college, the tree was so full of the craziest assortment of ornaments that its limbs hung lower than normal. At least now it will be a third lighter.
The main reason I love Christmas is not because of the lights or the cookies or the decorations, though – it is the general air (to risk sounding cliche) of cheer. The joy that comes from celebrating something that isn’t merely commercial is contagious – there’s a meaning behind this holiday, one that is greater than anything we know. A savior was born, and we can live with the peace of having eternal celebrations in paradise. Even people who deny Him cannot deny the jubilation that permeates every corner of our country during this holiday season. There is a reason we are rejoicing.
Now on to this Christmassy recipe. God bless you all and to all a good night! (Or morning, whatever, you get my drift.)
Orange Spiced Gingersnaps
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tbsp Greek yogurt
2 tbsp orange zest
2 tbsp orange juice
Sugar with orange zest for rolling
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt together in a bowl. Stir and set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, molasses, orange juice, and olive oil. Mix on medium for 5 minutes. Add egg and mix on low for 2 minutes more. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir until well combined. Fold in orange zest.
3. Add a couple pinches of orange zest to the sugar for rolling. Form dough into 1 inch balls and roll in zested sugar until completely covered. Flatten dough balls a little and place them on cookie sheet. Bake for 13 minutes or until tops crack.