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Monday, December 01, 2008

It is baking week in the parsonage as dozens upon dozens of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies fly out of the oven bound for our college students who are preparing for their finals and then even more dozens of 10 inch gingerbread men for this Saturday's Annual "Gingerbread Decorating Night."

This is the recipe that I use for a nice smelling and hard (easier to decorate) cookie.
(It comes courtesy of King Arthur Flour)
If you want to make these cookies int a tree ornament, use a straw to poke a hole in the top of the cookie before baking to add a hanging loop later on.

5 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons ginger
2 teaspoons ground cloves.
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup molasses (or light or dark corn syrup)
2 eggs

In a large bowl stir together the flour, salt, cinnamon,ginger, cloves and baking soda. Set the mixture aside.

In a small saucepan, melt the shortening, then stir in the sugar and molasses. pour the tepid shortening mixture over the flour mixture and begin beating till everything is thoroughly combined. Divide the dough in half and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours (or overnight)., to mellow. The dough is easier to work with if given a long rest. Don't forget to pull the dough out of the fridge a few hours before you want to work with it if refrigerating overnight to allow it to warm up and soften a bit.

Sprinkle a work surface with flour and roll the dough to approx. 1/8 to 1/4 in ch thick. Use cutters to cut as many cookies as you can, then gather the scraps together and re-roll them, and cut out more cookies till the dough is gone. Transfer cookies to a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet. (Try to cut out as many cookies as possible each time you roll the dough because each time you-re-roll it it will get tougher and harder to work with.)

Bake the cookies in a pre-heated 350degree oven for 15 minutes or so or until they're just barely starting to darken around the edges and you can still leave an impression in the top of a cookie if you press down with a finger. The larger the pieces the longer it will take to bake. (If you are making them to serve as ornaments bake them until they are good and hard).

Remove the cookies from the oven and cool them completely on a wire rack before storing an in an air-tight container.

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