Truly Ginger Cookies - For Grandpa Jones
Here's a picture of my well used Gingerbread recipe card complete with smudges of who knows what.
This recipe is to Grandpa Jones from Grandma Stern. My husbands family has been making this particular ginger bread cookie recipe for over 100 years. TF's mom passed it down to me years ago and so I keep the tradition going by making these cookies every year for Christmas. TF's sister would rather get these cookies than anything else for Christmas. I buy pretty Christmas tins at the dollar store and I send out about 6 different tins of cookies from Florida to Hawaii to New York every year. This year I am adding the two grown daughters (nieces) of TF in Virginia and Maryland. Of course TF and the kids want their own tin of cookies too. Bonnie likes fudge so she gets a special batch right before Christmas. I suppose I'll be making these cookies till I die and then one of the girls will have to carry on the tradition. I really do enjoy making the cookies, because it makes people happy and it is a family tradition. When we decorate our Christmas tree I usually make a large Ginger Bread cookie for each member of the family and we eat them and have a special eggnog "toast" for the family. I hope you enjoy this recipe.
Truly Ginger Cookies
Makes 6 dozen cookies.
Recipe from the kitchen of Betty Stern
½ cup – Soft shortening (can use part butter for flavor) I use all butter.
1 cup – Brown sugar (packed)
1 cup – molasses (unsulfered)
½ cup – evaporated milk
Grated rind of 1 orange (about 1 Tbl.) fresh
Sift together: Mix all ingredients together with a wisk, then mix in with above ingredients.
5 cups - Flour
1 tea. – baking soda
1 tea. – Ginger powder
1 tea. – Cinnamon powder
½ tea. – Ground cloves
½ tea. – Ground allspice
½ tea. - Salt
Chill thoroughly. Roll out 1/8 to ¼ inch thick, on lightly floured cloth covered board. Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes at 375 degrees. May be iced.
1) If using butter, let it sit out till it is very soft. This is a must if you want a smooth mixture.
2) Use a fresh orange for the grated orange peel. One year I used some dried, reconstituted orange peel and it just didn’t turn out the same. You can definitely tell the difference in taste.
3) The dough will get hard to mix, so be patient with it. I usually wash my hands really good and dry them and mix the last bit by hand.
4) It is important to let the dough chill before making the cookies. (You can store the dough for quite a while in the frig.) Take it out of the frig and let it sit for about 15 to 20 minutes before you start to roll it out. The desired thickness will depend on the type of cookie cutter you are using. An open cutter can use thicker dough. A cutter with a design on the top will need to be thinner. Just experiment an decide for your self how thick you want to roll the dough.
5) A well floured board will work for making the cookies as well as a floured pastry cloth. I personally like using the pastry cloth, but I have made it on a floured board.
6) You can use any cookie cutter you wish. I like the ginger bread men and assorted other Christmas cookie cutters. If using a cookie cutter that has a pattern on the inside, make sure you flour the cutter first so the dough won’t stick.
7) When you take the cookies out of the oven, let them sit in the pan for at least 1 minute before moving them to a wire rack to cool.
8) When you are ready to put them into tins or on a plate, use a pastry brush to dust off any excess flour.
9) These cookies may be iced, but I have never done that personally.