Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Did You Say Holiday?: Big Soft Ginger Cookies

Have you ever made a cookie that just turns out perfect?

I love those kinds of cookies, and it makes you want to hog the recipe for yourself and not share with others.

Well, I am not that way.

When I run across a perfect recipe I want to share with the world.

I'm going to have to take back that statement. I have some family recipes that I absolutely will not share. They remain in the family.

My mom holds a wonderful molasses cookie recipe that came from her grandmother. The molasses cookie recipe is time consuming, but is the best molasses cookie you will ever eat.

The time consuming issue was never a problem back when my Great Grandmother was baking and cooking. My Great Grandmother's generation is when women didn't work (house wives).

The title of this recipe is Soft Ginger Cookies, but they remind me of a molasses cookie.

Did you know that molasses has a very interesting history? I have never heard about molasses in our history books, but it is there.

During the 1600s, traders started carrying slaves from Africa to the Caribbean, where the human cargo was sold for barrels of molasses. For real? Trading a human being for a barrel of molasses?? And this kind of trade was profitable (can you imagine?). Some of our history is just sickening (I think), but we would not be where we are today without it. The reason that this trade was profitable is because the molasses was carried to New England where it was made into rum.

In 1733 the British Parliament tried to increase its share of the market with the Molasses Act, which added a stiff tax to molasses imported to British colonies from the French West Indies. Some New England colonists became very wealthy through the molasses trade and were not impressed with the added tax. The molasses tax along with the tea tax and other British levies, led to American petitions, boycotts and finally revolution.

Meanwhile, molasses moved its way into the daily diet in both northern and southern colonies.

In the North, molasses was added to baked beans, bean soups, corn chowder, and used for a glaze for poultry and pork. What is molasses the best in? Of course, barbecue sauce.

In the South, molasses was served at breakfast with cornmeal mush, or used to make desserts like shoofly pie.

Most of these common uses for molasses have long been forgotten, and the younger cooks nowadays are unfamiliar with the uses.

Here is another bit of history that I have never heard about: Have you heard anything about the "Great Molasses Flood" back in January of 1919? Yeah, a Purity Distilling Company in Boston exploded. The explosion killed 21 people and spilled two million gallons of molasses into the streets.

Ok, there is your history lesson for the day.

Now let's get back to the cookies.

I rolled mine in coarse cane sugar. It left the cookies with a little bit of a surface crunch.

The word SOFT in the recipe title holds true to these cookies.

I found out while baking them that they are not done until they begin to crack on the top, and yes, they are very good milk and coffee dunker's. Can you just imagine a molasses cookie dunked in hot coffee? Oh my gosh, I think I just died and went to heaven.

What an excellent holiday recipe, and the holidays are approaching fast.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does.

Big Soft Ginger Cookies

2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. butter, soft
1 c. white sugar
1 egg
1 TBS water
1/4 c. molasses
Coarse cane sugar for rolling dough balls

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 1 c. sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them the cane sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto un-greased cookie sheets, and flatten slightly (I skipped this step).

Bake for 10-13 minutes in oven (until tops begin to crack). Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Servings: 24
This recipe is linked to:
Foodie Friends Friday
Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy

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