Orange Gingersnap Cookies

When I set out to make gingersnaps, a recipe chosen simply because I had all of the required ingredients on hand, it was brought to my attention that a cookie as common as gingersnaps would be in every place imaginable in the blogosphere. People who search for a gingersnap recipe online are very unlikely to find Love & Flour, and perhaps even more unlikely to stop here if they do.

Now that my blog is just over six months old, I’ve been thinking a lot about the best way to continue. What exactly am I doing here?

When I set out to blog, I chose baking as my primary topic for a lot of reasons. I needed to eat, so I reasoned I could just as well bake and eat dessert as I could cook and eat any other food. I loved the creativity behind baking new desserts and pairing new flavors, but I always kept those things at arm’s length. I figured forcing myself to bake and create on a regular basis would be a way to give myself permission to make those things more understandable and more attainable. And I knew I could write about more than just the baking.

When I started, I set the goal to post daily for 30 days. When I reached that goal, I set a new goal to post every other day for the next 60 days. When I reached that goal, I felt confident the blogging habit was ingrained, and I could give myself a little pat on the back in another 90 days.

Funny thing about that second 90 days. It came and went before I even realized it, much the same way I noticed my 100th post came and went a few weeks back. The toughest thing about this process has been remembering to relax and enjoy baking just for the sake of baking like I used to. Trying to get back to just that is probably while I was drawn to a simple gingersnap cookie recipe in the first place.

I used the slight guilt mixed with disappointment I felt over a  plain-ol’-gingersnap post to motivate me into doing something with the lovely piece of ginger root pictured above with the gingersnap cookies. With the help of Alton Brown and David Lebovitz , I candied it.  Then I mixed the syrup with some club soda to make something I wanted to try for over a year, homemade ginger ale.

Though no Seagram’s, the ginger ale was better than I expected. It was very flavorful, but perhaps a bit too sweet for my taste (I’m used to store-bought diet ginger ale).  The gingersnaps, flavored with only ground ginger and orange zest, had just the right mild ginger flavor I prefer in a ginger snap. If you prefer a more pronounced ginger flavor in your gingersnaps, try adding a teaspoon of diced, candied ginger in addition to the ground ginger.

Love & Flour is never going to be a gourmet food blog, but I do hope it is a “real food” blog. If just once someone comes across a new recipe to add to the dinner table (oh all right, the dessert table) or is inspired to try something completely new, then that’s good enough. Enjoy!

Orange Gingersnaps
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 30
  • 2½ cups self-rising flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (2 sticks) butter
  • ¼ cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  1. Whisk together the flour, sugar, ginger, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter and corn syrup together in a saucepan over low heat until the butter has melted.
  3. Remove the mixture from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  4. When slightly cooled, pour into a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
  5. Beat in the egg and the orange zest.
  6. Place rounded tablespoons of the dough onto greased cookie sheets.
  7. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes or until browned.
1 cup of self-rising flour is equal to 1 cup of all-purpose flour plus 1½ teaspoons baking powder. ¾ cup light corn syrup plus ¼ cup light molasses is equal to 1 cup of dark corn syrup. Source: Joy of Baking




Coca-Cola Cupcakes

I had heard about baking a boxed cake mix by adding only a can of soda to the mix in place of all other ingredients, and I had encountered recipes that called for dark soda to make a glaze, but I had never before attempted either of the two.  Since it is nearly the Fourth of July, I thought now would be a good time to use the all-American soda, Coca-Cola, to bake a cake.  I adapted my recipe from Warren Brown’s “United Cakes of America”, though a very similar recipe is available on the Coca-Cola website.

After the first batch of cupcakes, I realized the cakes did not rise as high as I expected.   I suppose this has to do with only the soda acting as a leaving agent in this recipe.  If you opt to make cupcakes with this recipe, I suggest filling the cups nearly to the top rather than the standard 3/4  full.  The cake batter calls for marshmallows, so I opted to ice my cakes with an icing made of marshmallows as well.  The icing sets very quickly, so be ready to move equally quickly when icing to ensure a shiny, smooth finish.  Since the first batch of cupcakes did not rise quite so high, I made double-tiered cupcakes decorated with sprinkles.

I decorated the remaining cupcakes with some easy-to-make fondant and gum paste daisies.

I’m not overwhelmingly thrilled with the Wilton cutter’s I have; you can tell from the jagged edges on the flowers that the cutters are not all that sharp. I used a toothpick to outline the daisy cut-outs before removing them from the rolled sheet, but it was a bit tedious and certainly not fool-proof.  Though I wasn’t happy with the cutters, all-in-all, the decorated cupcakes did not look too bad, and the cake itself tasted very light and sweet.

If you are not sure about the marshmallows, I think walnuts would go nicely as an add-in with this chocolatey-tasting cake.  Or, if you like marshmallows and nuts, add in both ingredients.  Need more chocolate?  Add in a few chocolate chips.  While not everyone reading this will agree on the correct way to identify the syrupy, carbonated beverage, used in this cake, I think everyone will agree  these Coca-Cola cupcakes make for a good treat.

Coca-Cola Cupcakes and Marshmallow Icing
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Coca-Cola
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • Marshmallow Icing
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided
  1. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light yellow.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  4. Combine the vanilla, Coca-Cola, and milk in a separate bowl or 2-cup measuring cup.
  5. Slowly alternate adding the Coca-Cola mixture and the flour mixture to the butter, sugar, and eggs.
  6. Stir until well combined, then fold in the mini marshmallows.
  7. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners and fill nearly to the top of each.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into one of the cupcakes comes out clean.
  9. When cool, pour marshmallow icing over the tops of the cupcakes.
  10. To make the icing, melt the butter, cream and marshmallows in a saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently until smooth.
  11. When all of the ingredients have melted, stir in the vanilla.
  12. Pour the melted ingredients over two cups of the confectioners’ sugar in a mixing bowl.
  13. Mix on high speed while adding the remaining cup of confectioners’ sugar in ¼ cup increments. Use immediately.