Cinnamon Drops


From this recipe card’s appearance, I can deduce certain things. First, that it was a recipe belonging to my great-grandmother: only she used the typewriter to generate recipes. Second, that I have made this recipe before, although I have no memory of doing so. My childish handwriting appears in a few places, specifically noting “double this recipe”. Finally, I can divine that this is clearly a delicious cookie recipe, because the card has stains from decades of use.

When I was making these cookies, I ran out of molasses. The recipe calls for a full cup of molasses, and I only had 3/4 of a cup. Disaster? Not so! I made up the remainder of the “sweet stuff” with honey, and the flavor was so good that I have decided to make the modification permanent. The honey flavor is subtle, but it lends an additional dimension to the profile.

It may seem strange to add boiling water to a recipe which includes an egg. The reason for this is simple: the molasses (and honey) are very sticky, and in order to successfully mix the dough, it is beneficial to soften the texture. The dough will look a bit odd when you add the boiling water, because the egg does react, but I promise that the cookies will turn out just fine. Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.

I have no idea why I wrote “double this recipe” on the card. The note at the bottom is absolutely correct: the yield really is 5 dozen cookies. Perhaps, in my youthful exuberance, I decided that this was an insufficient number? Who knows. They are absolutely addictive: soft and tender, with a flavor similar to but gentler than gingerbread. The cinnamon-sugar coating lends a mild rasp to the cookie’s exterior, which makes them fun to eat. Be warned… only those possessing an extraordinary level of self-control will be able to face these cookies and only eat one.


  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 3 1/2 cups sifted flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and 1/2 cup of the sugar.


Add the egg, molasses, and honey, and beat until light.


Add the boiling water, flour, baking soda, and salt to the bowl, and mix well.


In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon and remaining 1/4 cup of the sugar.


Drop the dough by teaspoonfuls into the cinnamon sugar mixture, and roll to coat well.

Bake on greased baking sheets for 8 minutes, or until the cookies are a light brown on the bottom.


Makes 5 dozen cookies.

Click here for a print-friendly version.


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