Monday, January 30, 2012

Ginger Molasses Cookies

I am not much of a baker, to my grandmother's chagrin.  But, I have a recipe for the most gorgeous, delicious, foolproof ginger molasses cookies.

My mother shared this recipe with me, pulled from a Good Morning America holiday cookie contest in 2002.  This contest-winning recipe originally comes from Elisa Leverton.

They bake up in a perfect circle, with a lovely crackle top, and are nicely chewy every time.  Time to get baking!

Crinkle Top Cookies
(recipe by Elisa Leverton)

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg beaten
4 tablespoons dark molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 level teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups flour

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
2.  Cream together shortening, sugar, and egg until smooth.
3.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix.
4.  From into walnut-sized balls and roll them in granulated sugar before placing them on an un-greased cookie sheet.
5.  Allow room for the cookie to spread.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, being careful not to overbake.  (they will not be chewy if overbaked)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Best of 2011

*photo via John Kim*
I love to take a moment to reflect on what I've learned from the year behind, before I lay out hopes, dreams, and resolutions for the year ahead.  In my favorite annual blog post, here is my best of 2011:

10.  BICYCLES.  The wind in my face, sun on my back, and the whimsy of seeing the world on two wheels.

9.  PARKLETS.  I am delighted to see all the parklets cropping up around town!  Every new bench, tree, and bike rack makes me smile.  Thank you, SF, for these mini urban sanctuaries.

8.  FRANCES.  Best meal of the year, hands down.

7.  SUNDAY DINNER.  I love the simplicity of winding down the weekend with good friends over a shared meal.

6.  RUNNING.  A little over a year ago, I decided to start running an hour a day to see where it took me.  While I imagined it would take me countless times around Golden Gate Park, I did not anticipate the spiritual journey.  Nor did I imagine I would develop a new favorite hobby!  I trained for (and completed) my first marathon and learned so much about mindset, discipline, and goal-setting.  But more surprising (and infinitely more delightful), I also found a wellspring of gratitude and appreciation for the world around me, and my ability to be an active participant in it.

5.  GRATITUDE.  Gratitude can propel you through 26.2 otherwise exhausting miles.  (Tired?  Look around and find something beautiful to appreciate.)  Great tactic for marathon training, but a phenomenal tactic for daily life.

4.  THE PLAYA.  This year on the playa I embraced with honesty all that I am, and with boundless imagination what I can be.  I try to carry the spirit of the playa with me every day, in big and small ways.

3.  RECONNECTING.  I have reconnected with childhood girlfriends and am amazed at the strength and longevity of these very special friendships.  Also a special thanks to my playa campmates - old and new friends - for sharing with me that amazing week in the desert.  It is incredible to have relationships that anchor you across so many phases of life.

2.  TAKING RISKS.  This year I took a major career leap and find myself inspired, stretched, and challenged on a daily basis.  What was I waiting for?

1.  LOVE.  I am ever grateful for the love of my sweetheart, my friends, and my family.  With thanks to all of you for the year behind and best wishes for the year ahead.



I'm back from Baja, which was an amazing way to recharge and ring in the New Year with loved ones.  We shared a lot of laughs, adventures, and tortilla chips.  And of course, there is nothing more refreshing than a Pacifico on a breezy seaside afternoon.

I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and wish you a very happy year ahead!