German Spice Cookies
Sift 2 cups of the flour with the spices. Set aside. Cream butter. Add sugar and mix well. Add milk, then sifted mixture plus enough additional flour to make a firm dough. Knead dough well to be sure all ingredients are mixed. Divide dough into two parts, wrap tightly and refrigerate at least overnight. (It will keep up to 2 weeks.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Dust flour onto pastry cloth or wax paper and roll out dough thin, to about 1/8 inch. Cut into desired shapes. Sprinkle unbaked cookies with a mixture of 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Place on ungreased cookie sheets and bake until light brown around the edges, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove to racks and cool before storing. (The more thinly the cookies are rolled, the more easily they burn, so watch carefully the last 3 or 4 minutes.)
Makes 2 to 3 dozen, depending on shape.
Times testing note: Jean Venturino sent in this recipe that was handed down from her German mother, who called the cookies "Specuchen." Our research didn't turn up any German cookies by that name, but many recipes call for similar ingredients, including Zimtkekse, a cinnamon cookie. Also, Venturino's cookies are similar to Speculaas, a cookie of Dutch origin made in wooden molds, often in the shape of a windmill. Similar cookies were made in Germany.
Source: Jean Venturino, New Port Richey.