CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN #2 — GINGERSNAPS

Add a little spice to your holiday celebrations with gingersnaps.  And if you really want to experience a holiday treat, order a tin of crisp, spicy gingersnaps from The Center, a private not-for-profit agency serving persons with developmental and intellectual disabilities (Houston readers can usually purchase these at the Eastside Farmers Market as well).  The sale of the gingersnaps began as a volunteer effort led by Alicia Lee, whose son and nephew were residents at The Center’s Willow River Farms.  According to the website, the request for gingersnaps came from Barbara Bush, and Ms. Lee set about testing recipes for months in her quest for a crisp, crunchy, spicy cookie.  After many test batches, they sent a sample to Barbara Bush, who loved them, and the rest is gingersnap history.  Each gold tin is decorated with a hand-pressed and gilded ornament, made by one of the Center’s clients.  These gingersnaps are crunchy, buttery, spicy, and addictive.

If you’d like to make your own gingersnaps or ginger cookies, there are a million recipes out there.  My personal favorite recipe is this one, and I bake tons of them every year.

Although the gingersnaps are wonderful all by themselves, they are even better served with Amazing Pumpkin Dip.  We discovered this years ago at a small grocery store that had samples out of various products you could order for the holidays.  They called it Amazing Pumpkin Dip and had copies of the recipe printed for anyone who wanted one.  What was truly amazing was that we were not asked to leave, because my young son ate at least half of the bowl of dip while I was shopping.  (He tended to view free samples as his own personal buffet.)

If you need to bring a dish to a holiday party, or are looking for something to serve at one of your own, gingersnaps and pumpkin dip are a crowd-pleaser.

AMAZING PUMPKIN DIP
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Recipe type: Appetizers, Snacks, Desserts
Author:
Ingredients
  • 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 10 ounces pumpkin butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 8-ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • Gingersnaps, for serving
Instructions
  1. Place cream cheese in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add pumpkin butter, sugar, and vanilla, and beat until well-blended. Gently fold in whipped topping. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Serve with gingersnaps for dipping.

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PUMPKIN BUTTER

Welcome to day 28 of Tag Sale Tastes’ Pumpkinpalooza!

If you’re a fan of all things pumpkin spice, then you’ll love pumpkin butter.  Pumpkin butter is a silky spread made of pumpkin, sugar, spices, and a touch of lemon juice — none of the artificial flavors and other suspect ingredients found in many of the other pumpkin spice products I’ve sampled this month.  Two brands that I like are Kozlowski Farms and McCutcheon’s (I understand Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Butter is popular as well):

This stuff is autumn in a jar.  There are lots of ways to use it — swirl it into smoothies, fold it inside crepes, or make a great dip to serve with gingersnaps, for example. Because it’s pretty heavily spiced, a little goes a long way.   Perhaps one of the simplest and tastiest uses for pumpkin butter is simply to spread it on toast, or perhaps a pumpkin spice English muffin, on top of a little cream cheese or butter:

Mmmmm — what a great way to start your morning.  🙂