I first visited San Francisco in 2004. Whilst wandering around the Ferry Building food market, I came across a vision of pastel pastry loveliness. There were tiny layer cakes on milk-glass stands, fresh tulips on the counter, and cellophane bags of cookies tied up with crisp pink bows. I had found Miette bakery. It took forever for me to decide what to buy, but realizing that it probably wasn’t possible to eat an entire cake, however dainty, on my own – although the thought did cross my mind – I settle on a bag of gingersnaps. Later that evening, in the flickering blue light of a Market street hotel room, I lay on the bed and idly nibbled on a gingersnap. And then sat up – this was a gingersnap with attitude. This was a gingersnap as crisp as a potato chip, a gingersnap with a peppery bite and ginger, lots of ginger. On subsequent trips to San Fran., I tracked down Miette’s larger store on Octavia street, Hayes valley. Feminine as a teenage girl’s bedroom, this shop carries a range of exquisite candies, as well as a larger assortment of baked goods than the Ferry Building. And they still had the gingersnaps.
I bought an indecent number of these, and back in New Zealand, eked out their consumption, only sharing them when it would have been positively rude not to. So you can imagine my joy when Amazon informed me that a Miette cookbook would soon be available.The postman had barely backed his van out of the drive before my oven was on and my apron tied. Then I rolled and baked, and rolled and baked (these are very thin and need patience to roll and cut).
So, how were they? Well, they were good, very very good, but they weren’t quite the cookie in my memory. No matter, a little tinkering, and another round of baking, and there they were, the gingersnaps of my dreams.