Ginger Spice Cookies Ginger Sluts
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (dark brown)
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses (full-flavoured dark)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 5 tablespoons crystallized ginger, chopped fine
Black or Cayenne pepper
granulated sugar (or turbinado￼ sugar) for dipping the balls of dough
In a great big bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar until fluffy, then stir in the egg (or pumpkin) and the molasses. If you are adding the crystallized ginger, add it now.
In a second bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Add the flour mixture into the shortening mixture in batches, stirring well between each batch, until the dough is blended well. The finished cookie dough will be stiff but workable. Cover it and chill it until it is very firm — at least one hour, but I usually make the dough up before I go to bed and let it chill overnight.
Roll even tablespoons of the dough into balls and press one side of each ball into the turbinado or granulated sugar. I like to mix two separate little saucers of red or green sugar crystals mixed with sugar, so that I have three Christmasy colors, but these cookies look great with plain granulated sugar and best of all with coarse, caramel-coloured turbinado sugar.
Arrange the balls with the sugar sides up on greased baking sheets. Space them well, because these cookies spread. Bake them on the middle rack of a preheated 375°F oven for 10 or 12 minutes, or until the surface puffs and cracks. The cookies should look like the surface of Mars. Let them cool for a minute on the sheet, then transfer the cookies to cooling racks with a metal spatula and let them cool completely.
These cookies have a variable texture – underbake them if you like chewy cookies, give them an extra minute or two if you want them crispier, like ginger snaps. I find I like the texture best when they are firm but chewy, not crispy or crumbly. About eleven minutes is perfect.
This recipe makes around 40 cookies, which is a lot. They don’t spread too much. Just roughly double in size.
I adore richly-flavoured spice cookies and if you do too, there are a few things I highly recommend adding to this recipe. As I said, coarse turbinado sugar for dipping adds a more rustic look and a little flavour. I use full-flavoured dark molasses for maximum color and taste, and I never make these with anything other than dark brown sugar. This gives the cookies a great depth of flavour. Crystallized ginger is the perfect accent to these, as it candies up during baking and merges with the finished cookie for bursts of spicy flavour. Add it like you’d add chocolate chips to any other cookie. I also like to give my flour mixture a few twists of fresh-ground pepper or a dash of cayenne.
Baked properly, these are the perfect medley of rich flavour and rewarding texture, and very fun to eat!