Do you ever meet someone that just "gets" you and your crazy dreams, and you theirs? Someone that geeks out about the same things you do, making you want to be better at what you do in the process? This summer I met my friend Carey over jam recipes and a love of real food and good writing, and today she shares sweet memories of baking cookies with her mother.
I am so excited Becky invited me to share a recipe with you today and the timing couldn't be more perfect. Nothing says “the holidays” for me more than this recipe for Molasses Crinkles.
These cookies were one of the first recipes my mother taught me, probably because they are so easy. On the recipe card it said "Mom's Molasses Crinkles" and in my youthful mind I always assumed it was my mother’s recipe. And then last year about this time I pulled out the recipe card and re-read it. In my mother's handwriting it says "Mom's Molasses Crinkles", and it finally dawned on me: this was her mother’s recipe! This recipe came from my grandma!
My mother passed away nearly 20 years ago but whenever I make these cookies I see her handwriting on the card, I remember her making them and teaching me the ways of the kitchen. And it reminds me of my grandma (who is still with us), who must have taught her to make them. And as I bake spicy, sugary cookies I know the holidays have begun.
This is a simple, no fuss kind of recipe. You can use an electric mixer if you want but most of the time I mix the dough with just a big wooden spoon because it all comes together fast. Also, if you use a spoon it's just about the right amount of time & mixing to allow the "fat" to properly settle into the flour. Here are a couple more tips to make sure your first batch is a success:
• It is not necessary to grease the cookie sheets however, these cookies have to rest a minute or two when they first come out of the oven, they will be too soft to move. If you only have 1 or 2 cookie sheets it's a good idea to use parchment paper. The parchment paper will slide right off the pan to a cooling rack or counter and you can get another batch in the oven ASAP.
• If the dough is not forming a ball or holding its shape very well, stir it just a little longer to allow the oil to be properly absorbed into the flour. If that doesn't work drizzle a tiny bit more oil or a tiny splash of water into the dough and stir a little more. It might be a touch “shaggy” but you should be able to roll a chunk of dough into a ball.
• The crystallized ginger is totally optional and my mother didn't always have crystallized ginger on hand. But if you really love ginger it adds a special spicy kick and a tiny bit of texture to an already fabulous cookie.
• The recipe calls for 10 minutes of bake time but this, of course, is going to depend greatly on your particular oven. Because there is so much fat in these cookies the middles might still look a smidge wet and will still be soft when they come out of the oven. Generally I find that 10 minutes of baking produces a really soft cookie. 11-12 minutes of bake time will allow the edges to brown a little and the cookie will be a tad crunchier, like a ginger-snap, especially after a day or two. Play around with the cooking time to get them just the way you like them.
• Once you get the hang of this recipe, feel free to dump everything into one bowl. It’s cheating, but it still works. I won’t tell.
These cookies are amazing paired with a cup of coffee or tea and are great as holiday gifts because they stay moist for days.
Thanks so much for letting me share my family's recipe with you and please, let me know how they turn out!
Mom's Molasses Crinkles
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
4 Tablespoons molasses
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ cup chopped crystallized ginger (optional)
1/4 cup granulated sugar set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°.
In a small bowl combine all of the wet ingredients, mixing lightly. In a large bowl combine all of the dry ingredients, mixing lightly with a whisk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until well combined and dough forms one large ball. Using a spoon, scoop out some dough and roll in between your hands to form a ball about the size of a walnut. Roll the ball in the granulated sugar and place on the cookie sheet, spacing the cookies 2-3 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove cookies from the oven and allow to rest 2-3 minutes before removing cookies to a cookie rack or cool counter (cookies will firm up as they cool).
For more of Carey's words and beautiful photos, you can find her at accordingtocarey.com, where she shares what she's learned about food, family, and chronic illness. But not math.