Caroline and I have mentioned many times how recipes can conjure up memories for us. Years ago, my sister Jean (Caroline’s aunt) threw a get-together. She made cocktail meatballs in her crockpot. We were quite excited for what we assumed would be delectable treats, until she told us what was in them. She excitedly shared, thinking she crafted a new winning combo, that they contained not only cherries, but peanut butter too! Despite how off-putting it may have sounded; we of course gave them a try anyway.
As we went to dig in, she told us not to dig too deep in the crockpot. At the bottom there was a meaty, cherry, peanut buttery sludge that had cooked down a little too long. Jean was always attempting to concoct crazy recipes. Some were a hit; some were definitely not. We never knew what culinary adventure our taste buds would be embarking on. If Jean were alive today, she might be proud of us for adding an unorthodox ingredient to meatballs. The ‘sweet’ in these sweet and sour meatballs is gingersnaps! A little strange, but without a doubt better than peanut butter cherry beef balls.
The holiday plank
The month of October is the bridge we cross into the holiday season. Once Halloween is over, you blink, and bam, you’re already scrambling to get last-minute Christmas gifts and scouring the Internet and cookbooks for that one recipe that’s a bit different and unique that you can’t wait to share with your guests.
These meatballs are quick and easy to assemble, inexpensive, and taste somewhat like little meatloaves. And, if your family or guests don’t approve, then they might have a funny story to share later on in life… “Hey, remember going to so-and-so’s house and eating those gingersnap meatballs?!”
Ingredients for the meatballs:
1lb ground beef
¼ cup fine dry breadcrumbs
½ cup milk
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp salt
⅛ tsp pepper
Ingredients for the sauce:
1 cup water
2 tbs butter
¼ cup ketchup
2 tbs dark corn syrup
½ tsp basil
½ tsp salt
6 gingersnap cookies; crushed
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a sheet pan.
Mix the first six ingredients together and form 1” meatballs. Place meatballs on a prepared sheet pan and bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and place meatballs in a large saucepan on medium heat with 2 tbs of butter. Stir to coat the meatballs with the melted butter.
Combine the water, ketchup, dark corn syrup, basil, salt, and pepper. Pour the sauce over the meatballs. Simmer for 5 minutes and then add the crushed gingersnaps. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes. The sauce will thicken up nicely. Enjoy! •
Olivia and Caroline are enthusiastic foodies and bakers who are constantly in the kitchen, as well as explorers who create their own adventures in our area – and did we mention they are mother and daughter? Follow Olivia on Instagram to see her many creations at @oliviawvalentine.