Giant Ginger Cookies

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Today was supposed to be one of those mega-productive, do-no-wrong days, a good way to end a real doozy of a week. I was going to get up at a reasonable hour (but still later than I get up for work, because that’s the point of Saturday), write a blog post, find a new recipe to make, cook and photograph it, all before noon. Don’t even get me started on how the rest of the day was going to go.

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But instead, I mega-overslept until 11. I watched my football team suffer a really painful and pretty embarrassing loss while going through a ton of pictures of cookies and cranberries and pie. And then it was almost 4 in the afternoon and I was still in my pajamas. And then I felt bad for being lazy, but not bad enough to do anything about it. But then, I glanced out the window, towards the mountains, and actually saw the snowcapped peaks in the distance. Which happens almost never, even when it is sunny, because all the fog and smog and clouds get stuck in the valley and block the view.

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So I threw on some running tights and gloves and scarf and hat as fast as I could and drove to a nearby park where there’s a big hill to hike up. I power-walked to the top and sat there for a while with the sun setting beyond the mountains behind me, watching the snow on the tiny peaks in the distance turn orange in the fading light. And as the light slipped away, so did all the craziness and work-frustration and long days of the week. After the lazy and unmotivated day that was today, and the chaos that was this week, all I needed was a short walk and a reminder of “who cares about any of that crap when there are sunsets to take in and mountains to admire and not very many sunny days left this year.” A little reset which hopefully will make everything smooth sailing until Wednesday. And then. THANKSGIVING. I can’t wait.

If you could look up “sugar and spice and everything nice” in the dictionary, all you’d see is a picture of these cookies. Ginger/molasses cookies are one of my favorites, and these might be the best ever. We’ve got allspice, black pepper, and a whole tablespoon of ginger. Molasses, too. Dry ingredients get mixed together first.

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Then butter, sugar, egg and molasses.

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Dry ingredients get mixed in and then the dough gets to chill in the freezer for a while. And then it’s rolled into big balls which are flattened into discs and sprinkled with sugar.

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And then you’ll have the most wonderful, soft-in-the-middle, just-spicy-enough cookies that are delicious for breakfast. (Dessert for breakfast is apparently a habit of mine.)

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Giant Ginger Cookies

From Martha Stewart

Makes 1 dozen

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/4-1/3 cup for coating

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons molasses

1 large egg

In a medium bowl, whist together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, allspice, and pepper.

With an electric mixture or wooden spoon, cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the molasses and egg. If using a mixer, reduce speed to low and gradually beat in flour mixture until just combined. Remove dough from bowl, flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic, and freeze for 20 minutes.

While the dough chills, preheat oven to 350 F and place racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Form the dough into 12 2-inch balls. Place 1/4 to 1/3 cup of sugar in a bowl, roll balls in sugar to coat. Place balls on cookie sheets at least four inches apart and flatten into 3-inch rounds. Sprinkle with remaining sugar.

Bake until brown, rotating sheets halfway through, 12-15 minutes. (I know they’re brown to begin with. When they’re done the edges will be set and the middles will be soft, to the touch but won’t completely collapse. It’s also very easy to tell if they get too brown.) Cool on a wire rack.

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