There is a cookie that is truly legendary in our family, and that is my great-grandmother’s giant molasses cookies. They were huge, they were perfectly round, they smelled so delicious that my mouth is actually watering just from the olfactory memory of those long-ago cookies. As children we spent lots of hours visiting at my Nanny and Grampy’s house, and those visits were always topped off with a big soft cookie or two or three.
My great-grandfather kept racehorses, and drove a horse and sulky around the track in the field beside their house. Whenever I am close to a racetrack these days I just stop and listen, because that unbelievable rhythm of the horse’s hooves never fails to bring me back to that field. It is so precise, so controlled, and the horse and rider are so in sync that it can be a beautiful thing to watch. In those long-ago days he would put one of us on the sulky with him (OH, that would be pooh-poohed and frowned upon these days, but it was the 70s) and drive once slowly around the track.
My friend and I would skulk around the barns, smelling the barny smells and looking for the cats. There is a story, often-told, about a time when I caught one of the cats and was holding it in my arms in the yard. I was backing up, not watching where I was going, of course, and backed right up into an old washtub which was filled with freezing cold water. I went in bum-first and got stuck, and the unfortunate black kitty bolted out of my arms like a streak of soot, flying furiously across the snowy yard back to the barn. My friend was laughing so hard she was unable to assist me out of the bucket for some time.
All was made better with a warm blanket and some of Nanny’s cookies, eaten by the steamy warmth of the wood stove. Could there be any better reward? For years I have looked for this recipe, and at last I am going to tackle it. I only hope I can do it justice. If you try it, please let me know how it turns out for you.
Is there a family recipe that holds a particular memory for you? I would love to gather up a few…
Olive’s Ginger Crinkles
2 1/4 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves
3/4 c. soft shortening
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. molasses
small amount of white sugar to dip cookies in.
Mix shortening, brown sugar & egg until light & fluffy.Beat in molasses. Add flour & other ingredients. Mix well and refrigerate for 1 hr. Grease cookie sheet and reheat oven to 375. Roll dough into balls, then flatten with a fork. Dip top of cookie in white sugar. Place sugar side up on cookie sheet. Sprinkle each cookie with 2 or 3 drops of water. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes. Cool and enjoy! Makes 3 1/2 dozen.
♥Update: It is now December 13th, and I have made the cookies several times…actually I am eating one right now. Funny how just a smell and a flavour can bring back memories. So good.