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.
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