Double Ginger Cookies

Makes about 4 dozen cookies


Again, a thankful nod to Bob, my favorite brother-in-law baker. He baked these cookies a few years ago and brought them to our family Christmas gathering. I loved the flavor and texture, not to mention the extra bits of crystallized ginger mixed into the dough. On another note, this recipe uses canola oil and no butter for those of you who may be looking for a butter-free cookie. The use of oil also makes the mixing much easier – all you need is a bowl and a spoon.


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup canola oil

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup dark molasses

1 whole egg, lightly beaten

3/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger

1 egg white, lightly beaten and set aside, for garnish

about 1/2 cup coarse sugar crystals, for garnish 


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a bowl stir together with a whisk flour, ground ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl stir together the oil, brown sugar, and molasses until well blended. Add the whole egg and continue stirring until well blended. Stir in the flour mixture and the chopped ginger.

With a small cookie scoop or dampened hands, shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Brush each ball lightly with egg white and roll in the sugar to lightly coat. Place the balls of dough 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake until the tops of the cookies are set and crackled, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool for at least 5 minutes and then transfer to wire cooling racks to completely cool. The cookies firm as they cool. To store, place in an airtight container with a piece of wax paper between the layers of cookies.


Sugar Cookies
Sugar Cookies

Makes about 4 dozen rolled and cut sugar cookies (depends on the size of the cutter)

Big Note: This dough needs about 2 hours in the refrigerator to chill, so plan accordingly

I give my brother-in-law Bob all the credit for introducing me to this recipe. The cookies made with this dough are crisp, buttery, and sweet. I find the dough easy to roll and re-roll. We always use confectioners’ sugar for dusting the countertop before rolling, and then cut the dough with our favorite shaped cutters.  The confectioners’ sugar works beautifully to prevent the dough from sticking to the countertop, prevents adding more flour to the dough which can make the dough tough, and of course the sugar adds a rich, sweetness to the outer surface of the cookies.

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon milk
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting the coutertop

Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Stir together several times with a whisk to thoroughly blend. Set aside. With a mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar together until light in color and fluffy in texture.  Add the egg and milk and contine beating to combine well. On low speed, or using a strong wooden spoon, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter. Remove the dough from the bowl in 3 parts and wrap each 1/3 of dough in plastic wrap and shape into a flat disc. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick foil, release side up.Generously rub the countertop or area where you will roll the dough with confectioners’ sugar.  Take 1 disc of dough out of the refrigerator.  Roll the dough to about 1/4-inch thickness.  Move the dough around and check underneath to be sure it isn’t sticking.  Cut into desired shapes and sprinkle with colored sugar or other sprinkly decorations if desired.  Place at least 1-inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 7 to 9  minutes or until cookies just start to turn brown around the edges. Cool cookies completely on a wire rack.  Serve as is or frost as desired.  If there are any left, store in an airtight container for up to one week.…

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies
Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1 package (3.4 ounce) instant vanilla pudding mix

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Beat in the pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop cookies in rounded teaspoonfuls onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for about 8 minutes until the edges are just brown.


The Cookie Contest
The Cookie Contest

Every year Hixson hosts a cookie contest at their employee picnic. This year my oldest son and I judged the contest, along with a handful of other interested people who were willing to wade through tasting about a baker’s dozen homemade delights. Tuxedo Bites, Lemon Squares, Nutkins, Thumbprint, Old-fashioned Peanut Butter, Soft Chocolate Chip, Zebra Kisses, Salted Peanut Crisps, and Chocolate Peanut Chip lined the old wooden bar at the boat club. “Take a bite of each and vote on your top three favorites”, were our judging instructions.

Heading into the competition I was fully prepared to vote for something different, an unusual cookie that tickled my taste buds. I did what I was told (typical middle child) and tasted bite after bite. For some reason, despite the flavor contrast in the Salted-Peanut Crisps, or the nutty sweetness of the Nutkins, I kept returning to the Soft Chocolate Chip cookies. The distribution of chips tasted heavenly and the edges were slightly crisp, with a just-baked-soft center. I cast my vote, my son followed suit, and the winners were announced: Tuxedo Bites, Lemon Squares and….. Nutkins. My beloved softies sat scorned on their oblong, yellow platter.

A few days later a recipe book with all cookie contest recipes arrived in my kitchen. I furiously flipped through the pages dying to know what secret ingredient created the just-baked softness in my favorite of the cookie contest. The ingredient list seemed perfectly normal: flour, baking soda, butter, brown and white sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, chocolate chips, chopped walnuts, instant vanilla pudding mix. What, instant vanilla pudding mix in the cookies?.

You must know, if you’re not already aware, I tend to be somewhat of a purist when it comes to baking and even cooking. You know my type – real butter, pure vanilla extract, large fresh eggs. If I’m going to bake, I’m going to bake with simple, fresh ingredients. No “just add vanilla pudding mix” baking for me.

The next few times I shopped I neglected to buy pudding mix. Then my youngest son was prescribed to wear a retainer, glued into his mouth, for one week. In a search for soft food and convenience I picked up a few boxes of pudding mix. Then I remembered the cookies and the recipe. The deal was sealed.

The cookies turned out even better than I expected. The slightly-crisp edges and just-baked soft centers were just as I remembered.

In a recent New York Times article, “Perfection? Hint: It’s Warm and Has a Secret”, David Leite makes a quest to discover the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. On his journey he discusses cookie recipe nuances with pastry chefs, bakery owners, and food scientists (including my friend, Shirley Corriher), and makes a strong case for canonizing Ruth Wakefield of the Toll House Inn, creator of the iconic chocolate chip cookie. In the end he presents a recipe that uses bread flour and a 36-hour refrigeration for the dough. Deterred by leaving the dough in …