Have you ever talked to someone on the phone and 20 minutes later were sure you could be best friends if only you didn’t live 1500 miles apart?
That’s how I felt the first time I spoke with my guest today.
It was a few years ago when I first “met” Liz Curtis Higgs via phone. Within minutes we connected over our love of all things Scottish, and she was appropriately intrigued to find out my mother’s maiden name is Sinclair – a fine Highlander clan.
I hung up the phone and declared right then and there, that I would be a Liz Curtis Higgs’ fan for life.
Then, when I got to meet her in person this past year at She Speaks, I had to stop myself from begging her to be my friend. I tried to play it cool, so I’m pretty sure she couldn’t tell how awestruck I was.
I think many people feel that way about Liz. She is funny, authentic, brilliant and as kind as can be. Plus, she loves Jesus like nobody’s business.
You are going to love Liz’s story about her grandmother. And keep reading for a special giveaway of two of Liz’s books, plus an invitation to two special events she’s hosting this month.
My grandmother was tiny, and in her last years, quite frail. Her posture was stooped, her steps halting, and her voice never rose above a whisper.
Even so, her eyes were bright, and her spirit more so. She smelled of baby powder, wafting from the folds of her floral print dresses. And oh, could she make a fine batch of cookies, especially at Christmastime.
I was a girl when she taught me how to bake “ginger cookies,” as she called them. We stood side by side in front of a low counter covered in red linoleum—old school even back then.
Rather then a gingerbread man, Grandma preferred a simple bell shaped cutter. No raisins, icing, or sugar sprinkles on top. She liked her cookies sweet and simple.
Grandma knew the recipe by heart, but I didn’t trust my memory and so wrote down her instructions. Fifty years later the same lined card—stained with butter and molasses—still lives in my wooden recipe box.
Each Christmas I assemble the ingredients and try to recreate the taste and scent I remember from my childhood—soft and thick, like sugar cookies, yet a rich brown in color and full of flavor. Rolling and cutting is my favorite part, though I usually get carried away with the flour and end up dusting the entire kitchen.
Minutes after the first batch slides into the oven, a spicy aroma fills the house—cinnamon, ginger, molasses. People begin appearing at the kitchen door, hopeful expressions on their faces.
At last the cookies are cool enough to eat. With one bite, I’m eight years old again, sinking my teeth into a memory that never grows old.
Grandma’s Ginger Cookies
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark molasses
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Boil first 7 ingredients on the stove until the butter is melted and mixture is boiling rapidly.
Remove from heat. Add baking soda dissolved in a little warm water.
Cool dough for a few minutes.
Add egg, flour, and baking powder while stirring.
Place dough, still in saucepan, in refrigerator for one hour.
Roll dough 1/2” thick onto lightly floured surface.
Use cookie cutters to cut dough into shapes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes in the middle of the oven.
What a beautiful memory! Thank you Liz for sharing it with us today.
Liz also has two books to share with two people who comment on my blog today. The books are “A Wreath of Snow” and “The Girl’s Still Got it”. To enter, please leave a comment with your favorite Christmas food (sweet or savory) or drink. The contest will close tonight around 8 p.m. and I’ll announce the two winners tomorrow.
Liz also wants to extend an invitation to join her for two special Christmas Events:
Liz Curtis Higgs is the author of 30 books, including A Wreath of Snow: A Victorian Christmas Novella and The Girl’s Still Got It: Take a Walk with Ruth and the God Who Rocked Her World. On December 14 join Liz for a Livestream event at 12noon ET, “Live from Lizzie’s Kitchen: Let’s Bake Scottish Shortbread for the Holidays!” And every Wednesday this December check out her Bible Study Blog on “The Women of Christmas: Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna.”
Discover more about Liz’s historical fiction here:
Congratulations to the following winners from yesterday’s giveaway
Lois J., posting a comment at 5 am (MST)
Stephanie H., posting a comment at 6:44 am
Deb, posting a comment at 9:02 pm
Gail, posting a comment at 10:24 am
I’ve sent you each a personal email. And thanks to everyone for sharing your wonderful Christmas moments.