SOFT, SPICY, HEAVENLY GINGER COOKIES

In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Sift together the flour, salt, and dry spices; add gradually to the sugar-margarine mixture. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients, along with the ginger and raisins, into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.

SUGAR

Once a luxury only for the rich, “white gold” used to come in blocks, not granulated. Sugar cane and sugar beets are the common sources of this pentiful sweetener, which also lends tenderness to doughs, stability to mixtures, browning properties to baked goods and perservative qualities in large quantities. Granulated or white sugar is the common form, though superfine (known as castor) dissolves better in baking. Confectioner’s or powdered sugar is often used decoratively, as are sugar crystals or decorating sugar. Brown sugar is simply white sugar combined with molasses, not be be confused with raw sugar, the residue left after sugarcane has been processed ro remove the molasses and refine the sugar crystals.

WATER

Water is a clear, odorless, tasteless, inexpensive and versatile liquid made by combining two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. It is a principle component of every fruit and vegetable as well as making up a large portion of living things. It can be used in a wide variety of dishes, can be a beverage on its own and can be used as a cleaner and even a solvent. Water freezes at 32°F (0°C) and boils at 212°F (100°C). When frozen, it takes a solid form called “ice”, which can also be used in a variety of ways. When boiling, can be used to cook pasta and eggs.

GINGER

A subtropical plant grown for its nobby root (rhizome or underground stem). The root has tan skin, ivory to pale green flesh, and a peppery, slightly sweet flavor. Ginger is planted in August or September using the previous year’s crop. Ginger takes about nine months to reach maturity. After the flowers appear, the tops begin to die, leaving the ginger rhizomes ready to harvest Ginger is a mainstay of Asian and Indian cooking and is used grated, ground and slivered. Ginger juice is the juice of the root. Candied or crystallized ginger is ginger cooked in a sugar syrup, while preserved ginger is in a sugar-salt mixture: both of these are used primarily for sweets and desserts. Pickled ginger, used as a palate cleanser with sushi, is ginger preserved in sweet vinegar.

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