Giant Ginger Cookies

Sorry for taking such a long break from posting. I had finals and whatnot, then the holidays. I should be back on a somewhat regular basis until finals of spring semester at least.

These cookies were a big hit with Santa this year. The key is to chill the dough, otherwise they look like and have the texture of sugar cookies. Also, chilling the dough means the inside of the cookie takes longer to bake. You end up with a crispy outside and a chewy center, the best of all cookie worlds. I’ve already made these cookies multiple times, which is rare for me, since they don’t have chocolate. Oh, and they make the house smell wonderful, so if you plan on baking these to bring someplace, make sure to have a few extras for anyone who might catch a whiff while walking by your window when these are in the kitchen. Even a friend who doesn’t like sweets (weirdo) likes these cookies!

*This recipe is a modification of the one found in the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.

Giant Ginger Cookies

Prep time: 45 minutes Chilling time: 30 minutes to overnight Baking time: 11-13 minutes per batch

Servings: 20-25 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine (I used margarine)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • extra sugar–less than 1 cup
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour through salt).
  2. In a separate, large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the shortening and margarine together on low speed for about 30 seconds. Gradually add the two cups sugar until combined with the shortening mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally to make sure the mixture is combined evenly. Beat in the molasses, then the eggs. Try not to pulverize the mixture once the eggs are added. Stir in the flour mixture.
  3. Scrape any excess dough off the beater(s) and from the sides of the mixing bowl forming one large ball of dough. Any pieces that are not part of this ball may dry out while the dough is chilling, so try to make it as cohesive as possible. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, a silicone lid, or your preferred air-tight method. Chill in the refrigerator for at least half an hour (30 min.) or overnight. *Note: If you need to chill the dough longer than overnight, rather than covering the bowl, tightly wrap the ball of dough itself in the plastic wrap. The dough will keep this way for up to a week. You can freeze it too, but since I haven’t done that, I cannot attest to how long its freshness will last. I’m sure at least a month though. I would add a plastic bag or container in addition to the plastic wrap.
  4. Once the dough has chilled for at least half an hour, remove it from the fridge and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a spoon to “grab” the dough, roll the dough into two inch balls with your hands. Try to make the balls the same size so that the cookies bake evenly.
  5. After making the dough balls, put the extra sugar into a shallow bowl or plate with sides. I’d start with about 1/3 cup of sugar. Roll each ball in the sugar and then place on your baking sheet at least 2 1/2 inches apart. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until the cookie is cracking on top and browning at the edges. I found darker cookie sheets worked better for this cookie, rather than lighter, air bake sheets.
  6. After removing the cookies from the oven, let cool on the sheet for about two minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Cooling time on the sheet is important because the cookies will be too soft to handle when they are first removed from the oven. This gives them time to crisp up, but they are also still cooking while on the sheet. This is why the cookies don’t need to be as brown as you might like when you remove them from the oven–more color comes as the cookies cool.
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