Cookies to me are a great dessert as long as they are rich and flavorful. These ginger cookies are crisp and buttery with a good dose of spiciness. They are quick to make, and you can prepare the dough up to 1 week in advance, or make it a few months in advance and freeze it, although there is a little flavor lost when frozen. Sometimes I serve them alongside a dish of rich vanilla ice cream, but that is by no means essential.

MAKES ABOUT 4 DOZEN

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

ВЅ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

ВЅ cup white sugar

2 cups unbleached white flour

1ВЅ tablespoons ground ginger

Вј teaspoon cinnamon

Вј teaspoon ground cloves

Вј teaspoon salt

Sugar to sprinkle on top

  1. Cream the butter and sugars in a large bowl with an electric beater until well blended and fluffy. In a smaller bowl mix the remaining ingredients until well blended.
  2. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until blended, but do not overbeat the dough. Gather it into a ball; it will be crumbly. (You can gather it into 2 balls and in the following step, shape each into a log, then freeze 1 for future use.)
  3. Lightly flour a sheet of wax paper about 12 inches long. Put the dough on it and shape it into a log 2 inches in diameter. Roll up the log so that it is covered with wax paper. Chill it for 1 hour or up to 1 week, or freeze until ready to use. (If you keep it longer than a day or if you freeze it, wrap it in a plastic bag.) If frozen, thaw slightly before slicing.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350В°F. Slice the log into Вј-inch-thick slices no thicker. An easy way to do this is to use a ruler as a guide and mark off Вј-inch spaces across the log. Place them on the cookie sheet 1 inch apart.
  5. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until evenly golden. Be careful not to burn them. When done, immediately sprinkle some sugar on each cookie, then cool completely on a wire rack. Store in a covered tin.