The ruminations of an artist on art & life...art quilts, beading, knitting, drawing, painting, printmaking, bookmaking are all my passions, I love to explore creating....

Friday, December 22, 2006

Holiday Cookie Recipes

"Something precious is lost if we rush headlong into the details of life without pausing for a moment to pay homage to the mystery of life and the gift of another day." ---Kent Nerburn



Over the years, I figured out the very best cookie recipes are ones which have been handed down through a family from generation to generation. This makes perfect sense--the best tasting cookies would be the ones you would want the recipe for and you would remember with the most fondness, and yearn for when the Holidays came around--right? Most families (at least the ones that still cook) have these secret family recipes---and mine is no exception. In fact, my maternal grandmother was a great cook--and really did ALWAYS have homemade cookies in the big fat cookie jar on her cookie counter. When I was about 12--one day she told me, "You come over next Saturday--it is time you learn how to bake a pie." When I dutifully showed up at her home the next Saturday, she taught me her method of pie baking. Since she lived close by, I visited her frequently and as I grew up, she taught me much of what I know about baking and cooking. She grew up on a farm in Wisconsin, so her cooking reflected that upbringing and farm life.

So, here is her old fashioned recipe for CHEWY MOLASSES COOKIES---which my (now grown) children always request we bake during the Holidaze--a family favorite, for sure. A curious fact about these cookies---they have no fat of any kind in them--but still are delicious! Enjoy!

CHEWY MOLASSES COOKIES

1 cup molasses
1 cup brown sugar
2 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger (best if this is fresh---not ginger you have had on your spice shelf for months)
1 teaspoon salt (or less, if you prefer)
about 3 1/2 cups unbleached white flour

Heat molasses and brown sugar in a saucepan--but do not boil, remove from heat. (I think the idea here is to melt the sugar). In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a wire whip; mix the soda, ginger, and salt with 1/2 cup flour and add to the beaten eggs---mix well. Now add the warm molasses and sugar to the egg mixture gradually, stirring all the while (at this point, you do not want the eggs to be cooked by the warm molasses mixture). Then stir in enough flour to make a soft dough--about 3 cups.
Roll out cookie dough on a well floured board--cut out with cookies cutters and bake. Don't roll the dough too thin---the rolled out dough should be rather thick. This dough will be soft and somewhat tricky to handle--but use as little flour as possible in rolling, as too much flour makes the cookies hard (not chewy). Bake on a well greased cookies sheet--with plenty of room between cookies---at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes. (if you over bake them they will be hard, so don't wait for them to brown)
If you prefer, instead of rolling and cutting the dough, roll the dough with your hands into balls, place the balls on the greased cookie sheet, and flatten with the bottom part of a glass dipped in butter, then in sugar. My Grandma would place a small slice of fresh apple in the cookie jar with these cookies to keep them soft and chewy.

If you have a favorite family cookie recipe--I would love it if you shared it by leaving it in the comments...

2 comments:

Sandysue said...

Hey, this sounds like a good recipe. Hope to try it soon. I also grew up in Wi. My favorite kid cookie recipe was called On top of stove cookies. No baking. I can't find it, but I am going to try one from all recipes.com. Thanks for sharing. Would love to see a pic of your coffee cozies. Sandysue

Judy said...

Hi Aurora,
Thanks for the recipe. I agree with you that the best recipes are those handed down through families. I still make a few of the old favorites as well, and hope to make yours just as soon as life quiets a bit!
Happy Holidays to you and yours!
Judy