Part of the Christmas traditions I’ve developed as an adult is baking. Lots and lots of baking. I bake for family, for friends, occasionally for mere friendly acquaintances, you get the picture. Although I have a few recipes that I tend to use year after year (hello, Kahlua Brownies! Thank-you, Aunt Sheila, may you R.I.P.), I try to add a couple of new ones here and there too, just for the variety and experience.

That’s how I decided about 2 or 3 years ago to add gingerbread-style cookies to my repertoire.

Now, as much as I love to bake, I totally suck when it comes to any dough that I need to roll flat or, even worse, cut with cookie cutters. I am extraordinarily anal retentive and therefore perfectly willing and happy to stand and make hundreds of perfect little balls of dough in order to make perfectly round cookies but using a rolling pin and/or cookie cutters are, as far as I’m concerned, verboten. So traditional gingerbread men were, obviously, out of the question. So I did some Googling and eventually found a recipe for gingersnaps – similar taste to gingerbread men but without the fuss. Perfect!. The recipe was said to only make about 3 to 4 dozen cookies and the directions looked very, very simple. Double perfect!

Anyway, I decided to double the recipe. Now granted, I normally wouldn’t do that with something I had never made before but, like I said, the recipe seemed really easy. Plus I had a lot of people to share cookies with and not a whole lot of time and figured that the 75-100 or so that it would be an amount I needed in a relatively quick time period. Well, the recipe really did turn out to be just as easy and good-tasting as I could have hoped but it didn’t make 3 to 4 dozen cookies per batch. It actually made over 150 cookies per batch – and I had doubled it. So by the time I was done, I had made over 300 of those fucking gingersnaps. Or “Effing” gingersnaps, if you will, when I’m in mixed company.

Hence the more “personalized” name ;-).

All kidding aside, they really are awesome cookies – perfectly round (of course – look who is making them), pretty, crunchy, with lots of ginger/molasses/cinnamon flavor. They last a good 2 or 3 weeks in a plastic container or ziplock-style bag. Well, if you can stop yourself and everyone else from eating them, that is ;-).

I fully admit that I stole the recipe from Food.com (note: the current online version says it makes 168 cookies. When I originally got the recipe, it really did say it made 3-4 dozen) but apparently they stole it from Taste of Home magazine. I’ve also modified it here and there, at least in how the cookies are made – my modifications are in parentheses.

Sharon’s Effing Gingersnaps

Ingredients:
•    2 cups sugar
•    1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
•    2 eggs
•    1/2 cup molasses
•    4 cups all-purpose flour
•    4 teaspoons baking soda
•    1 tablespoon ground ginger
•    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
•    1 teaspoon salt
•    1/2 cup sugar

1. In a medium bowl, mix the 2 cups of sugar and oil. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each. Stir in the molasses.
2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Slowly add to the wet mixture and stir well.
(transfer the dough to an airtight container and place in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight – it’s much easier to work with when it’s cold)
3. Shape the dough into 3/4 inch balls and roll them in the 1/2 cup of sugar (it will probably be more than 1/2 cup of sugar by the time you’re done but 1/2 cup is a good place to start). Place the balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. (I wear non-latex gloves when rolling the balls – the dough doesn’t stick as much that way. Of course, I work in health care so it’s not very difficult for me to obtain gloves. And lest anyone think I’m wasting “health care company” materials – I’m using boxes of gloves that have expired. Oh, I also use parchment paper on the ungreased cookie sheets – makes cleanup easier)
4. Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes (trust me, just do 10 minutes. 11 minutes or longer and they’ll be overdone), or until the cookie springs back when lightly touched (personally, I’ve never used the “spring back when lightly touched” technique. When 10 minutes have gone by and they’re golden brown – and they will be golden brown when 10 minutes have gone by – they’re done).
5. Cool completely on wire racks. (I let them sit on the cookie sheet for about 5-7 minutes before transferring them to the wire racks or they’re too fragile).

Enjoy!

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