Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Molasses Cookies

I've been trying to cut down on sweet things lately.  I'm not necessarily what you would call a sweet tooth, but there are still plenty of places I could cut back on sugary empty calories.  The first thing to get the axe (well, almost) was soda.  I LOVE a cold, frosty coke.  If there is anything I could call a craving, that would be it.  When I haven't had one for a while, I feel like I would punch somebody in the face to get one.  I used to drink as much as one a day, but now I'm trying to limit myself to one or two a week.  It's been tough, I'm not gonna lie.  I used to also enjoy an occasional sweet treat after dinner--a cookie, a piece of fudge that is still left in the fridge from Christmas candy making time, a small scoop of ice cream....  No more.  At least, not as often.  Now those indulgences need to be much more occasional, which means I need to make them count even more when they do happen.  Let me tell you, molasses cookies were a worthy choice.  Besides, what sounds more old timey than molasses cookies?  Possibly something containing the word mutton, but I think we could all pass on that.

This was a recipe from my mom's archive that she has had for as long as I can remember rifling through her recipe box.  It came from her godmother, Ginny, and when I made them recently, my mom admitted to me that she had never personally made them herself.  So here was this little gem, sitting undiscovered and unappreciated for all these years.  I'm glad I revived it.  On my first try I did my best to replace the shortening in the recipe with butter because, well, it's butter.  I will say only this: it did not work and was sort of comical.  Now let us never speak of it again.  Then I decided that Ginny probably knew a thing or two about molasses cookies or the recipe would never have been requested in the first place and made them her way.  I tinkered a bit with the spices but otherwise followed the original recipe.  They turned out wonderful.  My dad pointed out that they actually taste a little like a pumpkin pie in the form of a cookie.  Given that there is no pumpkin, that might seem odd, but because there are a lot of similar spices in the two, it really is true.  This makes a fairly thin cookie; you don't get a super high rise because they spread out quite a lot.  But if you bake them right, you'll get a slightly crunchy edge and a nice, soft center that will stay chewy for days.  If you manage to have any left by then....


Ginny's Molasses Cookies

1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cups shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
4 Tbs. molasses

Preheat the oven to 350.  Whisk the flour, soda, spices and salt together in a bowl and set aside.

Cream the shortening and sugar together until fluffy.  Beat in the egg, and then the molasses until well combined.  Add in the dry ingredients either by stirring them in by hand, or mixing them in with your mixer on the lowest speed.

Make balls of dough using about 1 Tbs. of dough at a time.  I used a #50 portion scoop.  Roll the dough balls in sugar and place on a baking sheet.  I put no more than 8 on a baking sheet at a time because they spread out a lot.  Bake for 8 or 9 minutes, then let them rest on the sheet pan for another 5 minutes.  Remove from the sheet pan and allow them to cool for a minute or 2 longer before you dig in.  I will admit that I forgot to count, but I think this made a few dozen cookies.


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