In first grade I remember having to stay in from recess to finish my spelling words. The funny thing is I have always been really good at spelling, but what got in my way as a six year old was my 'head in the clouds' syndrome. I've always been that kid who daydreamed and it was (and still is) very easy to play through scenerios in my head, or relive a moment, or dream of what could be. This dreaming defines me as an idealist.
It can be a wonderful gift, but it can also be debilitating at times when a dream you have isn't played out the way you envisioned and you feel let down. As I look at my oldest daughter I see this gift in her as well. She has quite the imagination, dreaming of what could be with her head in the clouds. I wonder, how can I encourage this, fan this flame inside of her?
At small group last night we were talking about our dreams, or for some of us, lack thereof. There were some who asked, "what if you don't really have any dreams?" While others were asking, "What if you have too many dreams?" It was a good conversation that didn't fit nicely into a package with a three point synopsis, a bit of irresolution is nice (more time to dream).
One of my reoccurring dreams is to see how we can open our home to people, either through providing a place to sleep or making them a home cooked meal. And as I expand upon this dream it hit me. Well, an easy way to accomplish this is through my baking (I love to bake more than cook). Two doors down are a group of young adults who at times can be a bit loud in the wee hours of the night, but they need Jesus' love just as much as my children do, so I think some cupcakes or cookies are in order. Plus, what young person refuses fresh baked goods? Here's our family's favorite ginger cookies (and I've been known to bake them if asked).
Giant Ginger Cookies (printable recipe)
I had these cookies at a B&B and was thinking that I wouldn't enjoy them, because I remember not liking Ginger cookies. I fell in love. So much so that I called them up 7 months later to get the recipe if they wouldn't mind. I also told them I was pregnant and had been craving them for 7 months (I was willing to play any card for my advantage). I think you'll agree with me that they are terrific.
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups shortening (I know I'm not a big fan of using shortening--but these cookies are worth the sacrifice--use butter flavored)
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup molasses
3/4 cup coarse sugar or granulated (I've tried both and I personally prefer the granulated, b/c there's less crunch from the sugar. If you like that crunch that comes from raw sugar or turbinado sugar--use it instead of the granulated)
In a medium mixing bowl stir together dry ingredients (flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt) and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl beat shortening with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds to soften. Gradually add the 2 cups granulated sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and molasses. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour mixture.
Shape dough into 2-in balls using 1/4 cup dough (you can use a small ice cream scoop designated for cookies). Roll balls in the 3/4 cup sugar. Place about 2 1/2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet (invest in parchment paper).
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12-14 minutes (if frozen 14 minutes is fine--just check for doneness) or until cookies are light brown and puffed. (Do not overbake or cookies will not be chewy.) Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Store in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Makes 25- 4-in cookies.