A Simple Cookie that Sparkles and Shines: Swedish Spice Cookies

There are times when I need baked goods and I need them fast. This was the case when I had limited time to come up with a dessert to bring to a colleague's barbeque, so I decided on something quick and easy: Colleen Ries' recipe for "Swedish Spice Cookies," which won the 1995 Chicago Tribune holiday cookie contest (topping more than 325 other entries!).

To make the dough, you beat room temperature butter and sugar until light; add an egg and molasses; and mix in the sifted dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cloves, ground ginger, cinnamon, and salt). You can immediately form the dough into balls (I used a #40 scoop), roll the balls in granulated sugar, flatten, and bake.
The cookies were uniform and beautiful when they came out of the oven, their tops covered with delicate cracks and sparkling with sugar. They had a super chewy texture and I thought they were delicious. At the same time, I was a little puzzled how this rather modest cookie prevailed over so many others in the contest, because there was nothing particularly distinctive about them compared to the many other spice cookies I have baked. But this recipe gives you something pretty great for almost no effort at all, so I would absolutely make it again.

I plated the cookies on a tray and took them to the barbeque, which was held outdoors on one of the hottest and most humid days of the year. I noticed that after the cookies had been out for a few hours, they started to droop and conform to the shape of the serving tray; in fact, you could bend a cookie quite far without breaking it. This didn't stop my colleagues and their children from gobbling them up though, so I don't think anyone minded!

Recipe: "Swedish Spice Cookies" by Colleen Ries, from Holiday Cookies: Prize-Winning Family Recipes from the Chicago Tribune for Cookies, Bars, Brownies and More, recipe available here from the Chicago Tribune.

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