Gingersnaps and the Tradition of Passing Down Recipes

Gingersnaps and the Tradition of Passing Down Recipes
by Allyson Kenning

Gingersnap cookies
Gingersnap cookies

Passing down recipes from generation to generation is an age-old tradition.

Some recipes stay in families, like my late Uncle Wayne’s super secret Caesar salad dressing recipe, which is a treasure to me because he only ever shared it with me, and I have it in his own hand writing – and I’ve never shared it because I promised him when he gave it to me that I never would. Even his wife, my Aunt Lyn, does not have the recipe!

Other recipes are less sacred, and they meander outside of families and wind up all over the place.

The recipe I’m going to share with you this month is one of those. It was a recipe I made all the time when I was a baker at a seniors’ residence, and it was passed on to me via the cook at the facility, who in turn got it from a resident who had passed away shortly after she’d handed the recipe over.

I really like this idea of keeping the memory of someone alive through their food! Since I left the seniors’ residence, I’ve passed on this cookie recipe to all kinds of people via my food blog, and one of my BFFs from way back in university recently told me she made the cookies for Christmas. I was delighted to hear this!

This is a commercial recipe, hence the large quantities of ingredients, but my aforementioned BFF, who has apparently made these cookies more than once before, says that the recipe halves very well, and that’s what she usually does. Otherwise, you may be baking cookies all day! Which isn’t a totally bad thing, if you ask me …

Anyway, here is the recipe, which of course includes molasses, in keeping with the theme of this magazine’s title.


1lb butter
4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups molasses
4 eggs
8 cups flour
8 tsp baking soda
4 tsp each: cinnamon, cloves, ground ginger, and salt

Cream butter, sugar and molasses until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at time. Beat in baking soda, spices, and salt. Fold in flour.

You’re supposed to make little balls of dough, dip them in sugar, then press down, & bake. If you don’t have time to make all the balls, or can’t be bothered, scoop out the dough, press with a fork, sprinkle with sugar, and bake in a 350F oven for 12 – 15 minutes.

The half recipe, for your convenience, is this:

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
¾ cups molasses
2 eggs
4 cups flour
4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp each: cinnamon, cloves, ground ginger, and salt

Do you have any recipes you’d like to share with us that have been handed down from generation to generation? We’d like to hear all about them! Send an email to Kellie at, and she’ll forward them on to me to try out and write about!

Allyson Kenning
Allyson Kenning

Allyson Kenning hails from the mountain town of Rossland, British Columbia, but felt the coast calling in 2011, and she now lives in the Vancouver suburb of Surrey. She has a writing degree from the University of Victoria and a Baking and Pastry Arts diploma from the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. For several years now she has been authoring the blog “ReTorte” – – under the pseudonym Wandering Coyote.