Let me tell you that these cookie strips are pure genius. I can say this without hesitation because the “strip” concept is not mine, but hails from the mind of Coffeehouse Mystery author Cleo Coyle. Imagine getting all of the dough cut at once and not having to deal with willful cookie cutters that sometimes fail to release the dough creating a colossal mess. This easy cut method has changed all that. Simply roll out the dough into a rectangular shape about 1/8" thick, trim off the ends to make them smooth, and then, using a pizza cutter (and a ruler, if you must) cut them into 3/4" wide “strips.” If you roll the dough directly onto parchment paper, you can slide that onto your cookie sheet, and pop them right into your preheated oven to bake.
Just remember to run the pizza cutter back over the lines upon removing from the oven, and allow them to cool completely before removing them from the cookie sheet.
My favorite recipe for gingerbread cookies goes back to, I believe, an issue of Good Housekeeping from 1984. As I recall, they were doing a feature on Christmas traditions of First Ladies. Mrs. Bush (Barbara, wife of George H.W.) provided this recipe. Her tradition was to make and ice gingerbread Santa cookies, package them up individually and hang them around the mantle for each guest to take upon departing a holiday dinner. It was pretty to look at, and a charming idea (that I have replicated numerous times over the years); the cookies are delicious. Coyle suggests drizzling them with vanilla glaze, but I melted some white chocolate, and am exceptionally happy with my quicker choice.
Mrs. George W. Bush’s Ginger Cookies
½ cup Crisco
½ cup sugar
½ cup molasses
1-1/2 teaspoons vinegar
1 egg, beaten
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
Bring shortening, sugar, molasses, and vinegar to a boil. Cool; add egg. Sift dry ingredients together. Add to first mixture, mixing well. Chill. On lightly floured surface roll to about 1/8” thickness. Cut as desired. Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375°F 8-12 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before removing from sheet.
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