Dec 12

Parties, Persimmons, and Ginger Squares

by Hannah Holt »


Today is one of those fun dates: 12/12/12. It’s even more special for me because I recently turned a score and a dozen years old.

I love birthdays. Well, mostly I love cake. This week I ate plenty of cake, and now I’m in a plenty good mood. Here are some of the highlights from my week:

  • I finished Julie Hedlunds 12×12 challenge.
  • Just over a week ago, I finished Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo challenge.
  • The persimmon tree in my backyard is starting to come into season.
  • Six happy little persimmons were turned into this recipe for cake by Emiko Davies.
  • My cute husband also turned another year older, and later this week we will celebrate our nine year anniversary.
  • My oldest turned seven. I have a seven-year-old!
  • I found my first grey hair, but let’s call it silver.

December is in full swing and that means it’s time to make one of my favorite snacks of the year– ginger squares. It’s basically a recipe for gingerbread people but cut it into squares (and I use whole-wheat flour to feel less guilty about eating them by the fistful).

Ginger Squares

  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cloves (optional)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups wheat flour, plus more for dusting work surface
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.

  2. Beat butter and sugar together for two minutes

  3. Add the molasses and eggs, and beat until well combined (it will look a little grainy; that’s okay).

  4. Add the spices to the wet mixture, then the baking soda, and finally the flour. You don’t need to combine the dry ingredients together first. Just add them one at a time to the wet mixture. (I almost never use two bowls when making cookies.)

  5. Mix until combined, and then wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set in the fridge for one hour. The dough will be too sticky to handle if you don’t chill it first.

  6. Roll the dough out on a cutting board until it’s about the thickness of two nickles.

  7. Slice the dough into one-inch squares using a pizza cutter (or sharp knife).

  8. Place the squares at least ¼ inch apart on a greased cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 6-9 minutes. Six minutes will yield a very soft square, while 9 minutes will result in a crunchier cookie. Actual oven temperatures vary. Adjust the time as needed for desired texture.


  1. Joanna

    I’m gonna bake those ginger squares!

    I love that Ira Glass video.

    Yay for all your accomplishments and to us closing the gap further in 2013!

    • Hannah Holt

      Thanks, Joanna. Yes, I think 2013 is going to be the year of the gap closing. That means more work and more 12×12.

  2. Linda Black

    Have you ever opened the seeds of a persimmon? If you haven’t, do it. I don’t want to spoil the treat that inspired me during my childhood. Every time I ate a persimmon I opened the seed. You never know what you’re going to get. You will be pleasantly surprised!

    • Hannah Holt

      Are you talking about the weather predicting thing?

  3. Julie Rowan-Zoch

    Looks yummy – never knew quite what to do with persimmons! Must check out Linda’s suggestion!(BTW, I like the title to the post!) Congrats on all the ‘digit data’, or the counting party! Hope you’ll be around for more in 2013!

    • Hannah Holt

      Julie, I’m still trying to find more recipes for my persimmons. I think 2012 will be lucky ’13. :)

  4. Wendy Greenley

    I have never eaten a persimmon. Maybe that will be my next “new” thing that sparks a story idea! And you’re lucky–I got my first grey hair at sixteen. Glad we had the chance to “meet” through the 12×12 links.

    • Hannah Holt

      Good to “meet” you too, Wendy. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Carrie F

    Wow, Hannah, that video seems like it was MADE for 12×12. That was excellent! And your ginger squares don’t look half bad, either. Here’s to a great 2012, and (dare I say?) even better 2013.

    • Hannah Holt

      I thought the same thing when I saw the video. And yes, am even better 2013!

  6. Cathy Mealey

    Mmm, mmm, mmm. Next week is my baking week and those squares look tempting! No matter how many recipes I try, my pecan snowballs are always the ones that disappear first. Also can be eaten by the fistful!

    Congrats on your 2012 achievements!

    • Hannah Holt

      Oh, I want to try your pecan snowballs. Do you have a link for your recipe?

  7. Romelle Broas

    Hannah! You’ve captured my heart with your love of writing, persimmons and ginger squares! YummO. I have to try the squares. I’m not much of a baker, but I am an eater. Congrats on everything on your fabulouso list! And yes, let’s call the grays in our lives…I mean hair… “silver!” I have plenty of them.

    • Hannah Holt

      Lots of silver = rich in wisdom.

  8. Julie Hedlund

    Perchance there is a persimmon picture book in your future? Congratulations on finishing the challenge, making it to another birthday and turning gray to silver. (Perhaps an alchemist’s story?)

    Your writing WILL get where you want it to be. I know because once upon a time I heard one of your stories read out loud and loved it. Keep going because the next time I see one, I think it will be on the shelves at the bookstore!

    • Hannah Holt

      Thanks, Julie (for so much this year).

  9. Catherine Johnson

    Brilliant! Belated Happy birthday Hannah!

  10. Damon Dean

    Hannah…love your site. Congrats on your 12×12 and PiBoIdMo accomplishments.

    And…why didn’t I take this wonderful attitude about 30 years ago…
    “I found my first grey hair, but let’s call it silver.”

  11. Kirsten

    Your FIRST gray hair? That’s pretty funny, Hannah. I am getting far too many to count.

  12. Beth Stilborn

    Silver is a lovely color. (Mine aren’t even silver anymore, they’re just basic white.)

    Great post, happy many-days, and oh wow, those ginger squares look good! (I love any flavor as long as it’s ginger…)

    Congrats on your 12×12 achievements! Here’s to more success in the months to come!

  13. Loni Edwards

    Congratulations on 12×12! I hope 2013 is just as rewarding for you.

    Our family just tried a persimmon this past week. We like to try exotic (to us) foods. It was very good!

  14. Jennifer Young

    Congratulations on your drafts Hannah! And happy be-lated birthday to you. I just found my first “silver” hair last year – grrr.
    Have a wonderful holiday!

  15. Darshana

    Congrats on finishing 12×12 and a Happy Birthday to you. I have enjoyed getting to know you.

  16. Tina Cho

    It’s been a celebration week at your house! How neat you have your own persimmon tree. As I told you, I have a bunch of them on my table as well. I’ll have to check out that cake recipe. And your ginger squares sound delicious! Happy 12×12!

  17. Alayne Kay Christian

    Yummy! Congrats on your writing accomplishments and Happy Anniversary. Looking forward to seeing you pop up on 12 x 12 in 2013.

  18. Alayne Kay Christian

    Yummy! Congratulations on all your writing accomplishments, and Happy Anniversary. Looking forward to seeing you pop up on 12 x 12 in 2013.

  19. Alayne Kay Christian

    Sorry about the double post . . . or would this make it a triple post?

  20. Ramona

    Congratulations Hannah on completing the 12 x 12 in 2012 challenge and PiBoIdMo! It is all such great experience. Cheers to more accomplishments in 2013!

  21. Ramona

    Well done on completing the 12x 12 in 2012 challenge and PiBoIdMo! Cheers to more accomplishments in 2013!

  22. Erik - This Kid Reviews Books

    Must… have… ginger… squares! Tell mom… make soon… YUUUUUM!

  23. Becky Fyfe

    Ooh! Thanks for the recipe! I love gingerbread cookies! And congrats on completing 12 x 12 and PiBoIdMo! (I have a seven year old too, but she’s not my oldest. My oldest will be turning 21 on Boxing Day.)

  24. Jarm Del Boccio

    Wow, Hannah, you have much to celebrate this week…Happy Birthday! And congrats on completing two challenges. I’m sure you are looking forward to 2013, as am I.
    I would love to have a good persimmon recipe someday. On occasion, I receive one in my organic fruit and veggie box, but I never know what to do with them!

  25. patientdreamer

    Oh what a yummy post. Guess what I am making over Christmas and New Year…. GINGER SQUARES! Loved your post and congrats on all you have achieved in 2012. Looking forward to more with you Hannah in 2013.

  26. Cathy C. Hall

    I LOVE gingerbread and gingerbread cookies! Perhaps I love persimmons–I’ve never had one. But I still loved what you had to say about ’em. 😉

    Oh! And congrats on making it to your 12 mss–and your b’day. (I have lots of silver hair–I call it blonde. Or more accurately, Medium Blonde #8)

  27. Vivian Kirkfield

    One gray hair? Hahahaha…I won’t count mine…I do have to get to sleep before tomorrow. :)
    Congrats on completing 12×12…and Happy Birthday, dear online critique buddy. :) The year has exploded with amazing wonderfulness in this kid lit community(thank goodness, because there is so much other sad stuff going on in the world). Here’s to 2013 and writing success!
    And the recipe looks GREAT!

  28. Sylvia Liu

    I love the Ira Glass quote. I came across it about a year ago and find it both inspirational and comforting. Congratulations on finishing the challenges and happy belated birthday!

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