This cookie crumbles

18 Feb

I am seriously not a fan of this cookie dough – or do I blame it on my decidedly lacking baking skills? I’ve never made molasses cookies – a bakery favorite – and after my experience with this recipe, probably won’t do so again. I was struck by the fact that the recipe is eggless. If you’re considering  making this old-fashioned cookie, use a stand mixer. I did not. And I can’t help but wonder if the speed of the mixer  might have blended the batter better – made it more cohesive and not as crumbly!

I found the recipe  in The Grass Roots Cookbook by Jean Anderson (1974). I distinctly remember it as one I reviewed for the Kansas City Star years ago. It’s an interesting cookbook exploring regional recipes by cooks and bakers back in a day when everything was “made from scratch.” This recipe is one of Mrs. Willard Laurie’s favorite recipes from Bennington County, Vermont in the New England and Middle Atlantic States section. We do learn that Mrs. Laurie actually does have a first name – it’s Mary.

Rolled Molasses Cookies

4 ¼ cups sifted all-purpose flour

2 ½ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1½ teaspoons ground ginger

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup sugar

1 cup molasses

½ cup melted vegetable shortening

½ cup buttermilk or sour milk

Sift together the flour, soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt: set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, molasses, shortening and buttermilk. Mix in sifted dry ingredients, about one-third at a time, beating after each addition. Divide dough in 3 equal parts, wrap in foil or plastic food wrap and chill about 8 hours or until firm enough to roll. Roll the dough, one-third at a time, very thin (about like pie crust) on a lightly floured pastry cloth with a floured, stockinette covered rolling pin. Cut with a 2½ inch biscuit cutter or in fancy shapes. Space cookies about 1 inch apart on lightly greased baking sheet.

Space cookies about 1 inch apart on lightly greased baking sheets and bake in a moderate oven – 375 degrees about 8 minutes or until browned around the edges. Remove from oven and let cookies firm up a minute or so on the baking sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool. Let cookies “crispen” about 30 minutes before serving.

Makes about 7 dozen

Baker’s note: Find a better molasses cookie recipe. Preferably one made with eggs.

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