Saturday, November 25, 2006

Soft Molasses Cookies

In the spirit of the upcoming holidays and my interest in cooking and heritage foods, I am presenting the first of some traditional holiday recipes from my family. This one is for soft molasses cookies. It comes down from my mother's side of the family which is the notorious Hatfield clan of West Virgina. This is very simple recipe and makes the house smell wonderful. The goal is to not overcook them so that they will still be soft. If you like gingerbread you will love these cookies. They always bring back memories of the big old family Christmas celebrations that we used to have.
Keep in mind that we are talking about coal miners and farmers. There was not a lot of money to spend on toys so most of the joy of the holiday was around the family and good food. Certain recipes were always reserved for this time of year and as such will always be associated only with the holidays. Maybe you can make a memory with these cookies.

Soft Molasses Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup Crisco
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsulphered molasses
2 eggs slightly beaten
4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Cream butter and shortening with sugar in a large bowl and then beat in the molasses and eggs and set aside. In another large bowl mix the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices with a wire whisk to mix thoroughly. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until well blended. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls (or 1 1/2 inch for big cookies). Roll the balls in granulated sugar and bake for 10 – 12 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Don’t overcook as you want them soft. Store in tins tightly covered. You might want to put a slice of apple in the tin to keep the cookies soft.

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