Simple and Delicious Winter Sweets: Ginger Molasses Cookies / by Clare Johnson

Baking and I don't always get along. Precise measurements and sensitive cooking times make me quite nervous but believe me when I say, this recipe is foolproof. If you like gingerbread cookies with a little added sweetness, these are the treats for you!

I used a molasses sugar cookie recipe from AllRecipes.com. What I love about this cookie is the fact that there are a variety of ways to make it. Many of the ingredients can be substituted with other kitchen staples or modified to make the cookie you own. For example, if you're a diehard ginger fan, add some extra ginger to the recipe or sprinkle some candied ginger on top after the cookies come out of the oven. You truly can't go wrong.

I kept it simple and made only a few modifications. The recipe calls for shortening but I'm a big believer in butter - and lots of it! - in all my baked goods. If you do want to use shortening, I'd recommend using butter flavored shortening to give it a creamer taste. I also elected to swap one of the two cups of white sugar for brown sugar. The brown sugar made the cookies nice and chewy, which is all we can ask for in life.

As a quick aside, the recipe instructs you to chill the dough for three hours before baking; I found this to be unnecessary. That being said, the dough does keep well so long as it's stored in an airtight container. If you're making the dough the day before a party or cookie exchange, go ahead and store it. They'll still turn out great!

My final recommendation has to do with the cooking time. I had my oven at 375 degrees, as instructed, and I baked each tray for 6-7 minutes. The cookies came out with a slight crunch on the edge and a stupendous chewy center. If you enjoy a crunchier cookie, however, keep them in longer! The crunchy cookies are always great for dipping in coffee.

Lastly, dress the cookie up with some additional sugar, ginger, powdered sugar - you name it! I dusted my cookies with a hint of powdered sugar to give them a "snowy" look for our winter party and they looked great; very photogenic!

And that's it! Quick, simple and oh-so delicious!