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No one likes an empty cookie jar, especially around the holidays. I am certainly no exception. And with the thousands of cookie recipes floating around, there is no reason why your cookie jar should be empty.

I really like to bake cookies and I have my everyday favorites. But there are certain ones I only bake on special occasions like Christmas. They fill the house with the warm aroma of cinnamon and sugar. They never last long and sometimes never make it to the cookie jar! There is something magical about warm cookies fresh from the oven. They warm our soul.

So today I would like to pass along two of my favorite cookie recipes. Simple but delicious, they will quickly disappear from your kitchen.

The first is a Ginger Cookie made with fresh ground ginger. It is so important in this recipe to buy a `hand' of ginger and grate it. Powdered ginger from a jar just will not due here. Look for a plump firm hand of ginger. Before grating, peel off the brown skin. Use the smallest grate you have. The ground ginger needs to resemble more of a pulp than pieces. Fresh ginger is quite strong and juicy and this is what makes this recipe so good.

The second recipe is for a soft, rich sugar cookie. I have been making these cookies since the 1980's. I took them to an office Christmas party one year and a woman took some home to her young son. They next day she told he his comment as he ate the cookie, "This is the best cookie I ever had". And I must agree as sugar cookies go this is one of the best.

So put on your apron and whip up a few dozen of these cookies. If they make it to your cookie jar before being devoured I'll be surprised.

Fresh Ginger Cookies

2 ¼ cups flour
1tsp baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 Tbls grated fresh ginger
12 Tbls room temperature butter
1 cup sugar
¼ cup molasses
1 egg
Extra sugar for rolling

Combine flour, baking soda and salt Set aside. Beat ginger, butter and 1 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and molasses. Next add in the flour mixture. Mix until just combined.

Cover the bowl and chill at least one hour. Heat oven to 350. Roll dough into 1 ½ inch balls and roll in sugar. Place two inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake about 15 minutes until the edges start to brown. Let stand on the cookie sheet for 1 minute before removing. Cool on wire racks. Make 2 ½ dozen.

Rich Sugar Cookies

1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter (no substitutions)
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
5 cups flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Cream sugars and butter. Add oil and eggs; mix well. Add flour, cream of tartar, vanilla, salt and baking soda. Mix well. Form into balls and roll in sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Press with a glass to flatten slightly. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Makes 13-14 dozen. This recipe can easily be cut in half.