December 18, 2011

'Tis the Season for Cookies

I wish I made cookies more than twice a year, but I don't because I simply have no self-control around them.  I am the human-sized Cookie Monster, googly eyes and all.  From the potentially salmonella-laden dough (I know, I know -- I am aware of the risks), to the slightly underbaked cookies that come straight from the oven and whose flavors aren't fully realized yet, to the one-day-old cookie that is the perfect coupling of both tender and crumbly -- each life stage of the cookie is dear to me.

My excuse whenever I make cookies is that they're not for myself but for others.  I feel less guilty this way, even if -- let's be honest -- the cookies are kind of for myself, too.  The truth is, I might even like cookie dough more than the finished product itself, but I am an equal opportunist.  When the dough's all rolled up into pre-cookies, I will long for them to be baked, when I can pluck one from the cooling rack, and pop it into my mouth, still too hot that it burns my tastebuds.  (No matter, though; it's worth it!)

I love all cookies, from frosting-covered sugar cookies to pecan sandies to chocolate crinkles, but I am especially gaga for chewy ginger cookies, especially this recipe, which I spent my Friday night making for friends and coworkers, and yes, for myself too.   

Soft Ginger Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening (preferably non-trans fat)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

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