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*Molasses Cookies*

Molasses cookies have been a favorite winter treat since Colonial times. Their rich flavor make them delicious fresh from the oven or stored in a cookie jar. They are also a great canvas for Decorators frosting. Make snowflakes, christmas trees, or your own favorite design.

1/3 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup molasses
2 3/4 cups flour
1 egg
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (less salt is okay if you are on a low-salt diet)

First mix the molasses, brown sugar and the shortening. Add in other ingredients. Mix as best you can. You will be tempted to use your hands to achieve proper consistency. This is okay, but best not to be tried with young children present.

Cover and refrigerate for one hour.

While waiting, make the Decorator's Frosting (if you plan on frosting the cookies).

1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup butter that has been softened
1 1/2 teaspoons hot water

Thoroughly mix ingredients. If you are using a decorator's tube, you will want to use the #3 writing tip. You may also use a small plastic bag with one corner snipped off.

With your extra time waiting for the dough to stiffen in the refrigerator, read a Christmas story to the kids. "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" is always fun and dramatic for all ages.

Now, heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll the dough out to be 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut in circles with a drinking glass whose lip has been dusted with flour. Place the cookies on a greased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Decorate the cookies with the decorator frosting. Bake 7-8 minutes. Test for doneness: make sure cookies are not soggy in middle.

Makes 24-30 cookies.

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