Dreaming of “White Christmas”
As I write this today, we are at the tail end of the first major snow storm of the season in upstate New York. And since we’ve got well over 2 feet of snow outside, if it doesn’t warm up, we may very well have that white christmas.
But enough of the cold weather, let’s talk about a heart-warming musical – Irving Berlin’s classic “White Christmas.” The musical tells the story of two unlikely war buddies who become entertainment stars after the war is over (well, one already is an entertainer, but their duo act makes him bigger than he ever would have been solo). The two meet a pair of performing sisters, and you guessed it, complicated but quick romance ensues. And the four come together to put on a big production to save the resort that their old General now runs (and yes, I realize in the video I said Colonel – imagine how dumb I felt when I watched the film while the dough was chilling and realized I misspoke). Being a musical comedy of it’s time, of course they save the resort, the right people fall in love, and all is well in the end. The show features classic songs like the title number, “White Christmas,” “Sisters,” “Blue Skies,” and many more. The film stars Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney and is a Christmas and musical theatre classic.
Me and White Christmas
Personally, I have never been in a production of “White Christmas,” nor have I seen it onstage. I only ever saw the film for the first time right after I graduated from college. But once I saw the film, it became required viewing every December. The dance numbers are stunning, the music is beautiful and timeless, and every once in a while, you just need a good old fashion musical romantic comedy with a little Christmas cheer sprinkled in along the way.
I think I’ve said it a time or twelve, but “White Christmas” is truly a Christmas classic. As such, it deserved a cookie that was also a Christmas classic. Nothing says Christmas and classic to me quite like a ginger snap. The dark warmth of the spices and the molasses is just perfect on a snowy winter night. But, I’m not one who likes crunchy cookies. There is no greater dessert dissapointment than biting into a cookie that looks like it will be chewy and discovering that it’s hard or crunchy. So I’ve made ginger snaps that are nice and chewy, but the flavor is amped up and snappy. I have a few friends who would consider themselves ginger snap connoisseurs, and they all agree that these are by far their favorites. I hope you enjoy as much as they (and I) do!
1. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves (I like to underserve my measurements of the cloves to keep it from being to sharp, but if you really like cloves, you can go for the full 3/4 tsps), and salt. Set aside.
2. Cream together butter, shortening and brown sugar (I prefer dark brown, but light brown works just as well here). Add in egg and vanilla. Add in molasses.
3. Combine dry ingredients into the wet in 3 stages, adding the next bit once the last is fully incorporated.
4. Cover and chill dough in refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
6. Using small scoop or spoon, form small balls of dough (about 1 in in diameter) and roll the balls in the sugar for the coating so the entire ball is covered.
7. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes. Allow to cool on the tray for 2 – 3 minutes before transfering to a wire rack to cool completely.
Yields approximately 44 cookies. Approximately 75 calories per cookie.