King-Man and I recently returned from Wisconsin where we visited my 90-year-old father-in-law, Al, and many of King-man's 9 siblings and their families. It was a fun, sentimental time. Whenever we're at Grandpa's house, we're all missing Grandma Marie--my mother-in-law who passed away in 2001. We all have many happy memories of her. She was an amazing cook, and I especially loved her homemade cinnamon rolls and bread. Molasses cookies were a favorite for her grandkids; they could always count on finding some in Grandma's cookie jar. Those cookies were the best.
One day during our visit, Marie's granddaughter, Melissa, showed up with a batch of molasses cookies that tasted just like Grandma's. I was so excited! They tasted like they'd come out of Marie's kitchen. Turns out that Melissa and her twin sister Michelle had been on a mission to figure out how to make molasses cookies just like the ones they'd always found waiting in the cookie jar in Grandma Marie's kitchen.
Michelle and Melissa grew up on the family dairy farm, and it was a short walk to Grandma and Grandpa's house. So, they had lots of opportunities to eat Grandma's cookies. They knew exactly the taste and texture of Marie's recipe. When I bit into one of Melissa's cookies, it took me back to her grandma's kitchen. That's one of the things I love about food, cooking, and shared recipes--there are so many memories and traditions attached to them. One bite, and I was transformed back in time.
Here's a photo of Grandma Marie holding Michelle and Melissa shortly after their birth in 1983, along with a photo of them approx. 1 year later. What cuties! We were all so excited to have twins in the family. They'll be turning 29 soon. My how those years have flown by.
Here's a photo of Al and Marie on their 50th wedding anniversary in 1996 with all of their 18 grandchildren. Every one of them looked forward to molasses cookies from Grandma's cookie jar. You can spot the twins in the back row. The baby in Marie's lap is now a sophomore in high school. Everyone else is in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. All grown up, but still nostalgic about Grandma's molasses cookies. That includes my boys, T-Man (front row, far left) and Brackenthebox (back row, far left). I'll be making a batch of these molasses cookies for them the next time they're home.
So, today I'm sharing Melissa and Michelle's recreation of Grandma's Molasses Cookies. They're ever-so-slightly crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. An old fashioned, tried-and-true perfect cookie recipe.
Nutritional Information (per cookie with 30 cookies per batch): 107calories, 4.9g fat, 160mg sodium, 15.2g carbs, .6g fiber, 8.2g sugars, 1.1g protein; Weight Watcher PointsPlus: 3
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients: molasses, butter, egg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, baking soda, salt, flour (I used half white, half whole wheat pastry flour--but the original recipe calls for all white flour. The taste is the same either way.)
Step 2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
Step 3. In a medium bowl, zap the butter in the microwave just until it's melted.
Step 4. Add the sugar and egg, and beat until smooth. I used an electric mixer but you can also mix it thoroughly by hand with a spoon or whisk.
Step 5. Add the molasses and stir it in until combined.
Step 6. Gradually add the flour (approx. 1/2 cup at a time) and mix it in until well combined.
Step 7. Cover the cookie dough and let it chill in the fridge for an hour. This step is important--don't skip it!
Step 8. Roll the chilled dough into walnut-size balls. I used a scoop to make it quick and easy to get equal portions. My scoop was a little bigger than walnut-size, and they still turned out great. Dough balls anywhere between 1" and 1-1/2" in diameter will work, depending on how big you want your cookies to be.
Step 9. Roll each dough ball in sugar and place them 2" apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Step 10. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees, just until cracked but still a bit gooey inside the center cracks. Don't over cook them!
Done! Cool them on a wire rack.
view on Amazon: grid wire cooling rack (rated #1 by Cooks Illustrated)
Time to sample one of these beauties. I like mine with a cup of hot tea.
Thanks to Melissa and Michelle for perfectly replicating the flavor and texture of Grandma's recipe. I love the soft, chewy center, and so do generations of kids and grandkids past, present, and future. A tradition lives on!
How about you? Do you have any favorite cookie recipes that have been passed along through generations?
Make it a yummy day!
This post was updated 9/30/13.