How to make Giant Ginger Cookies --

The process starts yesterday and finishes up about three hours ago. The first thing you have to do is assemble the proper equipment. You'll need a KitchenAid mixer or a very very strong arm, a bevy of ingredients, an oven, and a small cast of characters.

Yesterday:decide to make your favorite cookies. Get permission from spouse to use good mixer, swearing to clean it properly afterward. When your stepdaughter shows up (with your grandchild in tow), con her into helping you with the dishes while grandkid plays with kid. Warm up with a batch of basic peanut butter cookies. Coat the kitchen with flour when you dump it into a running mixer.

Today: Preheat oven to 350 degrees fondly farenheit. Mix 4 1/2 cups of flour with 4 teaspoons ginger (if you have some crystallized ginger, sliver it finely and toss in a tablespoon. Tasty.) 2 teaspoons each of baking soda and cinnamon. Look for cloves. Look for cloves some more. Ask neighbors if you can borrow some cloves. Give up on the cloves, add some more cinnamon, ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom. Mix.

Into the bowl of the mixer, 1 1/2 sticks of butter flavor Crisco. Add 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar and 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar. Set mixer to murtalize and shoo kid back. When fluffy, crack an egg in. Crack another egg in. Drop shell.

Do you, gentle reader, have any idea how long it takes an eggshell to be fully incorporated into a batter by a countertop mixer running at warp 5? Faster than you can shut it off.

Throw away ruined batter and start over. This time, crack eggs ito a bowl and then pour them in. Add 1/2 cup blackstrap molasses. Mix well, scrape down sides of bowl, mix some more. Then dump in half of flour mixture.

Watch as a Vesuvius of spiced flour coats the counter, stove, floor, and kid.

Add the rest of the flour, with the machine off, then mix gently until fully incorporated. Take to table. Pour sugar onto a paper plate and start making 2-inch balls. Hand them off to Minieponymous, who rolls them in sugar (I like to use raw sugar for this step, but it seems to have eloped with the cloves). Put on airbake pan, not too close togther. Bake for 13 minutes, cool for two minutes on the pan, then remove them to wire racks. Eat the first two pans as fast as they cool. Repeat five times. Realize on the third pan that the oven is set to broil, which explains why the tops seemed a little hard.

Makes somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 cookies.

    For purists who like their recipes linear:
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • mix well
  • 1 1/2 c. shortening
  • 2 c. granulated sugar
  • beat until fluffy, then add
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. molasses
Add half the flour mixture, mix well, add the rest. Roll into 2 inch balls, rol in granulated sugar, bake at 350 f. 12-14 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool 2 minutes, finish cooling on wire racks. Caveat: this is the base, it is modified every time.