I think the best recipe books and the best recipes can be determined by the number of splotches on the pages. A good recipe, and a good cookbook, has lots of them as it shows use.
A great cookbook I discovered this summer was one my niece Katie gave to her newly married sister Beth, Michael Ruhlman's Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking. It is a great book and gives you a lot of information on method as well....and it gave me the code for making the best light and fluffy baking powder biscuits....
So...I suppose you're wondering about the cookie recipe.
1/2 c. shortening (I usually use butter or margarine or a combination of the two. When I was a kid, we used Crisco, and I think if you used butter flavored margarine that would be fine too.)
2 c. brown sugar (packed)
1/2 c. molasses (I prefer Grandma's which is a light molasses, but as a kid, we used B'rer Rabbit light molasses but sometimes Black Strap molasses which gives a stronger flavor and a bit of a tang from the sulfur).
4 1/2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking soda (1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon if you want to go faster)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ginger (I like using fresh grated ginger. I keep a hunk of root in the freezer and grate it as I need it...it is much fresher than using ground).
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
granulated sugar....It's prettiest if you use a coarse ground sugar, but I only had the regular table sugar so the grains are less noticeable on this batch).
Cream shortening and sugar. Add in egg and molasses. Blend in remaining ingredients except granulated sugar. Cover the bowl and chill a minimum of one hour (making it the day before and stuffing it in the fridge overnight works well).
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Shape dough into rounded balls, about 1"- 1.5" in diameter (or a little bigger, but not tooo big). Roll the ball in granulated sugar nad put on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 10 -12 minutes or just until set. I usually set the timer for 11 minutes. Immediately removed from baking sheet to cool.
These make a ginger cookie which is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. You can leave it for a tad longer to make it crunchy throughout. This is actually the recipe for a double batch because they aren't that much trouble to double it and the recipe halved is for 4 dozen cookies....if you make them small...I made about 6 dozen using the doubled batch and that will give me enough to take to tomorrow gathering as well as tonight's. Plus a couple to eat myself. These freeze very well.