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Saturday, February 27, 2010

My Favorite Cookies

Every year about mid December, I get the itch to bake my Ginger Cookies.  I started baking them about 15 years ago after my wife’s received several cookbooks from her grandmother.  Among the cookbooks is: Grandma Rose’s Sinfully Delicious Cakes, Cookies, Pies, Cheese Cakes, Cake Rolls & Pastries by Rose Naftalin published in 1975.  Rose’s still has several bakeries in the Portland area that offer all kinds of wonderful desserts.

I can easily find this recipe in the cookbook as the page is wrinkled and stained and the back of the book is permanently creased to that page.  The original recipe titled: Almond Ginger Snaps, but my take on the recipe is just Ginger Cookies.

The ingredients are:
    2 sticks Gold-n-Soft margarine
    1-cup sugar
    ½-cup dark molasses
    1-tablespoon ground ginger
    2-teaspoons cinnamon
    2-teaspoons ground cloves
    1-teaspoon baking soda
    3 ½ cups of flour
    A pinch of salt

Notice that there are no eggs used in the batter so you can eat it raw!

Start by mixing the margarine and sugar on medium speed for two minutes.  I use our Kitchen Aid stand mixer with the beater bar.  Set the mixer speed to slow and add the molasses, spices, baking soda and salt.  Add the 3 ½ cups of flour, stopping the mixer to scrape the sides of the bowl before adding each cup of flour.  Do not over-mix the dough once all the flour is integrated.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 2 parts.  Start with one of the halves and roll the dough into a long cylinder.  I roll mine with floured hands until it is about 1 ½ inches thick.  Wrap the cylinder in plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Do the same procedure for the second half.

To cook, set the oven to 325 degrees (I set ours to 315 when baking on our Bakers Secret pans).  Unwrap the dough and slice straight across the roll making slices about ¼ inch thick.  Place these on the cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Don’t over bake, the cookies should be slightly raised by not cooked hard.  Slide the cookies off the sheet and onto a cooling rack. 

These cookies have a very strong ginger and cinnamon flavor and a slightly chewy texture.  They freeze very well and I like to eat them right out of the freezer.  I usually make two batches at once.  The yield depends on the thickness of the cookies, but I usually yield 8 to 10 dozen from a batch.

This last Christmas, I baked four batches and still have some in the freezer for the next time our son comes to visit.

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