Terri’s Prize Winning “Sugar & Spice” Gingersnaps

     After baking a batch of these cookies last night, the sweet smell of sugar and spice is still lingering in the air! Autumn weather means pulling out recipes that remind me of the season. And, it just wouldn’t be fall without Terri Switer Heitschmidt‘s cookies.   
    Her prize winning recipe has quite a history. While a student at Abilene Middle School, she entered her Gingersnaps in a cookie contest through Seventeen magazine. They won 2nd prize; she was awarded $50.00 and the recipe was included in the magazine’s Christmas edition. The Abilene Reflector-Chronicle announced her accomplishment and included the winning recipe in the paper.
     Every year my catering students at Abilene High School made her Gingersnaps for the Honor Society induction. Later I made “umpteen” batches when I was the catering manager for the Kirby House Restaurant. Terri also allowed me to include the recipe in The Kirby House Cookbook.
     Old habits are hard to break. When I taught school and during my years of catering, I would adapt recipes so that I could make them in steps or stages. We’d make cookie dough one day, refrigerate it overnight and then bake the cookies the next day. Even though I now have time to complete all of the steps in one afternoon, yesterday I still intended to divide the tasks over a two day period. However, I could not overcome the temptation to bake part of the dough immediately . . . so we had warm ginger cookies and slices of crisp apple slices for dessert last night . . . it was pure bliss! 

Molasses Tip: To avoid a sticky
mess in my cabinets, I store the
bottle of molasses in a plastic bag.
Gingersnaps     Yield:  about 4 to 5 dozen cookies
3/4 cup shortening (Crisco®)
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/4 cup molasses (I prefer dark or full-flavor)
1 large egg
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
About ¼ cup  granulated sugar for rolling

1.  Preheat oven to 375°.  Grease or spray (with pan release) cookie sheets (or line cookie sheets with parchment paper).
2.  Cream together (using an electric mixer) the first 4 ingredients—shortening, brown sugar, molasses, egg. 

3.  Add dry ingredients to molasses mixture and blend—flour, soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves. At this point I often cover the mixed dough and refrigerate. When ready to bake, I let the dough come to room temperature.

4.  Form into small balls  -- I use a cookie dipper. Roll in granulated sugar.
5.  Place 2” apart on prepared cookie sheet. 
      Using my fingers, I flatten them just slightly.

6.  Bake about 8 to 10 minutes. Do not overbake! Additional sugar may also be sprinkled on the warm cookies.

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