Dancing Queen

When I was a little girl I wanted to be a ballerina when I grew up.  Lots of little girls want to be ballerinas, but very few actually do grow up and wear their tutus professionally.  I was determined to be one of the few who did.  Okay, not an actual ballerina, but I wanted to dance.  I loved to dance.  I went to one of those all girl high schools that didn’t have much of a gym program.  For us, gym was folk dancing.  Mrs. Chertoff was one of my favorite teachers, mixing Israeli folk dance with modern interpretive, square dancing with disco.  Occasionally we would be forced out into the sunlight and fresh air to throw a few tennis balls at each other, but most of the time we were in the gym dancing to Erev Ba or trying to remember the steps to Pippin’s Magic to Do.

Erev Ba?  Magic to Do?

I Erev Ba-ed and Pippin-ed my way throughout high school.  At one point, in the 12th grade, I had fulfilled most of my scholastic requirements and had a lot of free periods during the day.  Free time was looked down upon, so I took extra dance gym classes, sometimes having gym class three or four times a day.

At university I took a few dance classes, but preferred dancing at the various school parties.  I was a teen and young adult in the late Seventies/early Eighties and I hustled and boogied and did all those dorky dances so popular back then.  I loved to dance so much and I had all these plans.  One of the items on my list was to find a guy who loved to dance, marry him and raise our own little troupe.  Great plan, no?  No.

The X didn’t dance.  I’d go off to my Israeli dancing evenings while he stayed home and watched tennis matches on TV.  And guess what?  Ju-Boy doesn’t dance either.  I’d go off to my Israeli dancing evenings and he’d stay home and watch Britcoms on TV (at least it wasn’t sports this time).  Okay, that makes two out of two husbands who don’t dance.  Miriyummy plans, husbands don’t dance, and if they do, everyone laughs.

Ju-Boy has many other wonderful characteristics, any girl would be lucky to have him, I just wish he liked to dance.  But he doesn’t.

Or does he?

About two months ago we were at a Bar Mitzvah.  Yummy Mummy‘s youngest had joined his four older brothers and was now part of the minyan.  At the beginning of the evening we had the traditional circle dances.  Women on one side of the room trying out a few intricate steps, men on the other side just shuffling from side to side in a circle while the younger boys jumped up and down.  Towards the end the couples’ dancing started up.  Ju-Boy is willing to lead me in a slow dance or two, but he draws the line at some boogying.  Or does he?

You see this?  I can barely drag the guy out on to the dance floor, but let Serene Shar‘s mother just give him one of her “come hither” smiles and the man turns into John Travolta!  Mrs. L. turned my “I’ll -just-stand-off-on-the-side-and-watch” into a Whirling Dervish.  But not for long.  Mrs. L. tired out Ju-Boy very quickly, and Shar had to interrupt the boogy so he could catch his breath.

Mrs. L.’s dance moves are too much for Ju-Boy and Shar has to save him.

Where does that woman get her energy?  I think I know her secret.  She’s partial to ginger snaps.  I make them extra gingery, so you can boogy all night long.

Sugar and Spice Ginger Snaps

These babies have three kinds of ginger in them.  A lot of people might find them too much to handle, and should tone down the ginger in the recipe.  The Fiery Mrs. L. loves them, so these days I make them just like her, extra spicy!

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks/12 ounces, 300 grams) butter or margarine
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sweet molasses
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated (I used a Microplane zester)
  • 1 tablespoon candied ginger, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg, or 1 teaspoon pre-ground
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar, for dipping
  1. Heat the oven to 170 degrees C (375 degrees F). Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cream the butter or margarine and the brown and white sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed for about 3 minutes.
  3. Beat in the eggs and molasses.
  4. Reduce speed and mix in the dry ingredients until well combined (except for that last 1/2 cup of white sugar).
  5. The batter will be very soft.  Chill or partially freeze it, but remember very cold dough will take a minute or two longer to bake.
  6. Wet your hands.  Take ping-pong ball-sized pieces of dough and roll them into a (ping pong) ball.  Dip one end of the ball in the white sugar, and place on the parchment paper covered cookie sheet.  Flatten slightly.
  7. Bake 15-18 minutes, depending on desired consistency. Let cool for a few minutes on baking sheet (cookies will continue to bake and crisp up). Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Store in an airtight container for several days or freeze.


About Miriyummy

All I want to do is live happily ever after.

Posted on 28 February 2011, in Cookies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. How on earth did you get from dancing to Ginger Snaps? Just ‘cos somebody likes Ginger snaps. A bit of forced connection!

    However I second Ju-boy’s dislike of dancing. After all what’s the point of it. It’s not like tennis where you can have a winner – the one who dances across the court most successfully. Same with all other sports. Dancing = no winner so exercise for no purpose!


    • Oh Arthur! Don’t be such a fuddy duddy! Dancing has everything to do with ginger snaps since Mrs. L. loves my ginger snaps. And as I always have to remind your brother, it’s not always about winning! Now put on your dancing shoes and twirl Susy across the floor!


  2. I’m not sure what I enjoy more your stories or your recipes;) but they are always extremely interesting.
    Thanks for another fun read.


  3. Thank you for the nostalgia…as always you are a master at your trade! Anyone can see the connection between dance and Ginger Snaps…they both put the same kind of smile on MY face!!!


  4. Leah Kahn Plavnick

    OMG you recap our high school years so perfectly!! I feel like I am back in Riverdale dancing, or at least trying to, since I think I was the most uncoordinated of the entire school.


  5. my husband love ginger cookies–but I think he prefers chewy to crispy. Are these soft if you bake them less?

    Very cute story.


  6. Cara Bereck Levy

    Sometimes, they dance…and then they stop! I met my husband Israeli dancing. He quit several years ago…so I go it alone!
    These cookies look WONDERFUL!


  1. Pingback: Kosher Cooking Carnival — The VeNahafoch Hu Edition « Miriyummy

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