Sunday, December 4, 2011


When I began putting the ingredients on the kitchen counter for these cookies I thought back to the first time I attempted to bake something. It was a jiffy cake mix- I was seven years old, and had persuaded my grandfather to let me "do it myself." Unfortunately I somehow misread the measurements, adding too much water. After mixing it together he noticed the mixture looked too thin, so we had to throw it away. My first attempt at baking ended in failure, but it would not be my last!

Typically I use my handy kitchenaid mixer to whip up cookies, but today I told Terry as he was making our coffee I wanted to do it by hand. So I creamed the shortening and sugar with a wooden spoon, just as I learned to do from my Stepmom, Holly, in our kitchen in Dover, New Hampshire back in the 1970's. She made delicious Christmas cookies, passing along to me her love of baking. As a teenager I readily offered to help her in the kitchen, a time we both look back upon with great fondness.

Today I was in the mood for something spicy, something chewy and crunchy, something with molasses..... Gingersnaps! Is there anything better than the aroma of the three spices in this recipe- ginger, cinnamon, and cloves? When the cookies are baking the entire house is filled with their fragrance. It is heavenly!


* 3/4 cup vegetable shortening*
* 1 cup sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 large egg
* 1/3 cup molasses
* 2 1/3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
* 1 to 2 teaspoons ground ginger
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* *Can you substitute butter for the vegetable shortening? Yes; but the cookies will be soft, not crisp.


* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1) Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
2) Beat together the shortening, sugar, salt, and baking soda.
3) Beat in the egg, then the molasses.
4) Add the flour and spices, beating to make a smooth, fairly stiff dough.
5) To make the coating, combine the sugar and cinnamon, and place in a shallow pan or dish.
6) Drop the dough in 1" balls into the cinnamon-sugar mixture; a teaspoon cookie scoop is perfect here.
7) Roll the balls in the sugar to coat, then transfer them to the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 1 1/2" between them; they'll spread as they bake.
8) Bake the cookies for 11 minutes, for cookies that are crisp around the edges, and "bendy" in the center. Bake for 13 minutes, for cookies that are crisp/crunchy all the way through.
9) Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool right on the pan, or on a rack. Cool completely, then store tightly wrapped, at room temperature.

Yield: about 5 dozen cookies.

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