Ginger Spice cookies

If I walked into the house when I was growing up after school to the smell of fresh baked goods, the sweet treat that excited me the most was always a cookie.  Any cookie, but it had to be homemade, and imperfect, and soft and crunchy all at the same time.  We had a tiny kitchen with not a lot of storage. Some grocery items inevitably ended up finding a home in one corner of the kitchen we affectionately started calling ‘the snack corner’.  After bounding up the stairs, I would check first to see if it was just store-bought goods laying there, but most often, there was a large platter with homemade cookies, calling my name.  At times though, to my dismay, this platter was wrapped up with so much plastic wrap that it was obvious if it was tampered with, there would be trouble to pay.  You see, my mother loved to cook and bake, but was also usually making food for someone, either someone who was ill or moving or for our good friends next door or down the street.  So I knew I had to get my share of cookies before they were given away. She often threatened that she had counted how many cookies there were, but as any rebellious teenager foodie would do, I put that statement to the test and a few times got away with my double fisted cookie theft. Score!

gingercookies

I will say though, I don’t often bake cookies.  Mostly because it is one of the foods that I have no control over and cannot have them simply laying around on my counter day in and day out.  Also, when you have small children, they seem to get in the way of paying attention to cookies the way they need it.  As in, take out at eight minutes, rest for two, transfer to sheet, repeat four times.  And here in Mexico, the ovens do not regulate temperature well, so I always have a timer or two on the go so I don’t get distracted by my children-now-teenagers. To be honest, I usually end up with six cookies that are a little more crispy than the others in every batch of cookies I make.  As I rule, I give the burnt slightly darker ones to the first person who starts pestering me for cookies.  Maybe one day they’ll learn their lesson.

These ginger cookies are dreamy.  I love the flavor of ginger on a good day, but when I had crystallized ginger for the first time, I melted.  What a beautiful thing to bite into these cookies and crunch into those crystallized ginger pieces.  And these cookies crack so beautifully on the top, they are great to give as gifts.  If you can’t stop everybody from eating them, quadruple wrap them in plastic wrap and maybe they will last longer than a day

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup crystallized ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup (packed) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • about 1/4 cup white sugar for rolling

DIRECTIONS:

Combine flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.  In separate bowl, beat brown sugar, shortening, and butter until fluffy, about two minutes.  Add egg and molasses and beat until blended.  Add flour mixture and mix just until blended.  Cover and refrigerate one hour.

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease baking sheet.  Pour sugar onto a large plate.  Form cookie dough into balls approximately 1 1/4 inches, then roll in sugar to coat completely.  Place cookie dough balls on prepared sheets, spacing evenly.

Baking until cracked on top but soft to the touch, about 10-12 minutes.  Cool on sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to racks and cool completely.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

adapted from: Epicurious

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