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1989 2nd place: great-grandma`s gingerbread cookies

1/2 cup Vegetable shortening
1 cup Sugar
3 Eggs
1/2 cup Cold water
2 tsp Baking soda
1 cup Sorghum or molasses
All-purpose flour (5-6 cups)
1 tbsp Ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground cloves
1 tbsp Ginger
1/2 tsp Salt

1 Preparation time: 30 minutes chilling time: overnight baking time: 10 minutes
2 Cream shortening and sugar in mixing bowl, beat in eggs, one at a time.
3 Mix water and baking soda in small bowl until dissolved.
4 Add baking soda mixture and sorghum to butter mixture.
5 Sift 5 ? cups of the flour, the spices and salt together.
6 Blend into dough.
7 Divide dough into 4 balls.
8 Wrap in plastic wrap.
9 Flatten and refrigerate overnight.
10 Heat oven to 350 degrees.
11 Roll 1 portion of dough out at a time on lightly floured surface.
12 Cut into desired shapes.
13 Bake on a greased cookie sheet until puffed, 10 to 12 minutes.
14 Do not overbake.
15 When cool, decorate with buttercream frosting and/or candies as desired.
16 Sorghum gives these cookies a special flavor, but molasses can be used as a substitute.
17 ann smith of plainfield won second place, and described how her gingerbread men left bohemia in 1872 and immigrated to the united states.
18 Smith"s great-grandmother, "babicka" novak, lived in a small czech-american town in south dakota where smith"s mother grew up in the 1920s.
19 At christmas time, her great-grandma would give her neighbors old world gingerbread men, reindeer and rocking horses.
20 "one year when great-grandma delivered the cookies, she brought along her teenaged grandson, who was visiting from a small ethnic czech community in nebraska," smith wrote.
21 "introductions made that day over the watchful eyes of the gingerbread men eventually lead to wedding bells for my parents a decade later.
22 Great-grandma novak probably had planned this all along!" from the chicago tribune second annual food guide holiday cookie contest december 14, 1989
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