At Mimi's Table

. . . lessons from an older and wiser girl

Joe Carson’s Ginger Cookies

at mimi's table Christmas cookies joe carson's ginger cookies

Here’s another good choice for a holiday treat for your cookie plate, to take to a cookie swap, or to give as gifts. Joe Carson’s Ginger Cookie recipe was first published in Midwest Living magazine in 1999. I’ve been making them every Christmas since.

My husband loves the chewy texture. The cookie dough is made with vegetable shortening instead of butter. I normally follow the recipe to the letter, but this year I decided to use 1/2 cup of shortening and 1/4 cup of butter.

I like this recipe, too, because it calls for a couple Tablespoons of molasses. Molasses gives the cookie a rich flavor. They hold well, so if you decided to bake them a couple of days in advance, it’s no problem.

The recipe is easy. This is a family favorite, so I whip up a double batch with my electric mixer. If I don’t bake all the dough, I cover it with plastic wrap and store the leftover in the refrigerator in a container with a tight-fitting lid. That way I can bake up another batch in no time at all.

Joe’s recipe instructs bakers to roll the dough into balls, roll them in sugar, dip them in water, and roll again in sugar before baking. The result is a nicely cracked sugary cookie top. It’s fabulous, but I didn’t like the way the water clumped up the sugar. So, I decided to form the balls, roll all of them in sugar and put them on a cutting board until all the balls got their first coating. Before I put them in the oven, I roll them again for a second sugary coating. They don’t come out as spectacular looking as Joe’s, but it’s quicker and less messy, and the cookies are as delicious.

You may want to try a couple of my other holiday cookie favorites. Cranberry Orange Cookies and Orange Sablé Cookies. Joe Carson’s cookies and these other two make their way onto my cookie plate every Christmas.

Let’s whip up a batch! at mimi's table 2017 christmas wreath

Joe Carson's Ginger Cookies
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This chewy ginger cookie recipe is from Joe Carson at the Silver Dollar City theme park in Branson, Missouri. It's the best ginger cookie I've ever eaten. Fantastic taste, texture and easy to make.
Recipe type: Cookies
Cuisine: American
Serves: 30 cookies
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¾ cup vegetable shortening, or ½ cup shortening and ¼ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  1. In a stand mixer, beat the shortening (or shortening & butter) for 30 seconds.
  2. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. 1-2 minutes
  3. Add molasses and egg. Beat on medium speed until combined.
  4. Add the baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt into the bowl. Mix on low speed just until the spices are incorporated.
  5. Add flour. Mix on slow speed until the dough is well combined.
  6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
  7. Use a one-Tablespoon cookie scoop and begin to form the dough into balls. As each one is made, set them on a cutting board until all the dough is gone.
  8. Put ½ cup of granulated sugar in a bowl, and roll the balls, one-by-one, in the sugar, and place them back on the cutting board.
  9. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two half-sheet baking pans with parchment paper. Roll the balls a second time in sugar and place them on the baking pans.
  10. Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes until they're light brown on the bottoms. Cool the cookies on a wire rack.
Once cooled, you can store the baked cookies in a container with a tight-fitting lid. You can also make a double batch of cookie dough, bake one-half, and save the rest wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator.


Cranberry Orange Cookies

at mimi's table Christmas cookies cranberry orange cookies

I’ve made these cookies for five consecutive Christmas cookie plates. They’re a big hit! Cranberry Orange Cookies are so easy to put together. You mix everything in a food processor.

These cookies have an interesting mix of dried cranberries, orange zest, allspice, and cloves. Very festive flavors rolled into one or two bites.

They’re pretty, too, which always makes for an attractive plate nestled among the other cookie bounty.

A batch is quick and easy. I usually make two batches and store one in an airtight container in the refrigerator for baking later over the holidays. They don’t spread a lot, either, so you can fit more than 12 on a half-sheet pan. I got 18 cookies on each sheet pan this year.

Rolling the cookie dough in red sugar sprinkles before baking gives the cookie a crunchy exterior and a little sparkle. Cranberry Orange Cookies stay moist and keep well.

at mimi's table frustrated womanAnd buy red sugar sprinkles early in the season. Egads! I went to six grocery stores until I found four little bottles. And it was ten days before Christmas! Every store had plenty of green. I left two red bottles on the shelf knowing some needy baker would run into the same dilemma as I did. Maybe I should come up with a green sprinkle recipe? Next year, I’m ordering mine online immediately after Thanksgiving.

Happy Baking!        at mimi's table 2017 christmas wreath

Cranberry Orange Cookies
Prep time
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These are ideal cookies for the holidays - read quick, easy, no fuss. The dough is mixed completely in a food processor. Bright red sugar sprinkles give a little sparkle. Dried cranberries, orange zest, allspice, and clove give the cookies a bright festive flavor. And they keep well, too!
Recipe type: Cookies
Cuisine: American
Serves: 48 cookies
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 stick cold, unsalted butter, but into small pieces
  • ¼ cup cranberry juice cocktail
  • ½ teaspoon red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • Red sugar sprinkles for rolling
  1. In a food processor, pulse the dried cranberries and granulated sugar until the cranberries are finely ground and the sugar turns red.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, orange zest, salt, allspice, and cloves. Pulse until combined.
  3. Add the butter, and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal.
  4. In a 1-2 cup measuring cup, combine the cranberry juice, food coloring, and vanilla. Stir with a fork. Break an egg into the measuring cup, and lightly beat the egg.
  5. Pulse the liquid into the other ingredients until a dough forms.
  6. Put the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about an hour.
  7. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat to 350F degrees.
  8. Line two half-sheet pans or cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  9. Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into balls and place them on a cutting board. Once all the balls are made, roll them into the red sugar sprinkles and onto the sheet pan.
  10. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Remove cookies from the oven onto cooling racks. Let stand for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.
  11. Store in container with a tight-fitting lid in a cool dry place until ready to serve.
I usually make two batches of cookie dough, mixed one at a time in the food processor. One batch I bake, and the second batch of dough is wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator until I need another round. These are fabulous holiday cookies. They stay moist, keep well, and are so pretty!


Simple Quick S’more Bars

grannie geek, simple quick smore bars

Such a simple and quick way to enjoy a summer treat.  So loved are s’mores, it’s a favorite flavor of coffee, ice cream, breakfast cereal, oatmeal, coffee and coffee creamer, and even vodka.  (Can’t understand the vodka thing – I’ll have to give it a try . . .)  America has a love affair with s’mores.  With this recipe, you can enjoy these tasty treats year ’round.


Almond Orange Cookies – Orange Sable Cookies


grannie geek almond orange sable cookies

I love these cookies!  They’re crunchy, crumbly, made with ground almonds and orange zest. I found this recipe in a 2001 edition of Martha Stewart’s Holiday Cookies:  100 Favorite Recipes.

Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate and caramel and cheesecake as much as anyone.  But during the holidays, cookie trays and dessert tables seem to be inundated with uber-rich treats.  I think of almond orange cookies as sort of a palate cleanser.  The crunch of the ground almonds and the crispy sugar coated edges lend a tasty background to the orange zest.  These cookies are buttery, and not too sweet.


Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

grannie geek, peanut butter chip cookiesMy husband, Richard, loves peanut butter. While he often slathers it on bread, rolls, crackers, and celery, I like to eat it by the spoonful right out of the jar.  I can’t help myself. Peanut butter by itself is such a simple pleasure – sweet, salty, creamy.  The perfect between meal pick-me-up.

I found a great peanut butter sheet cake recipe that I’ve made several times, and we love it!  But Richard offered a not so subtle hint on my grocery list:  COOKIES.  So I figured a cake was out.


At Mimi's Tablelessons from an older and wiser girl