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Apr 18

Grandma’s Cookies – Colin McKnight

flowers-mason (3)

When I was  a kid, my grandparents lived about 5 blocks away.  They had an old-fashioned house with an unheated mud-room entry off the kitchen, that they always called the storm-house.  There were a couple of cupboards out there that my grandfather had built, along with his boots on the floor, and a big can of dog chow for his beagles.  My grandmother, Nana, often kept a jar of flowers from her garden on a rolling metal cart in front of one of the windows.  On the top shelf of the cupboard to the right of the kitchen door, she kept a tin of cookies.  When I’d visit, I’d grab the tin as I was walking into the kitchen, and she’d put the kettle on the stove, and we’d have a cup of tea and a couple of her molasses cookies and talk about the trials and tribulations of that day.  In her quiet way, she passed along an awful lot of wisdom, with love. Those cookies were special- they had these deep cracks across the top and were dusted with powdered sugar.  They were nice and thick and soft and chewy.  Yeah, I loved them. Perhaps too much.  Nobody else made those cookies. They were Nana’s specialty, and I don’t remember ever seeing her make them, but they were always in that tin on the shelf in the storm-house.
Nana suffered a series of massive strokes, and after a lengthy decline eventually passed away in 1979.  With all the ongoing medical crises, no one thought to ask her how she made them.  My grandfather and my aunt continued to live in the house for another 20 years or so and the cookie tin was empty all that time and I assumed that the recipe was gone forever.  When my aunt went into a nursing home, we cleaned out the house to get it ready for sale.  Tucked in the back of a drawer in the kitchen I found a bundle of hand written recipes bound in a big rubber band.  In that bundle was a recipe for ‘Sugar and Spice’ cookies.  Yep, the missing molasses cookie recipe.  Enjoy these cookies, and think of my Nana when you’re eating them.
Sugar and Spice Cookies
Mix together thoroughly:
3/4 Cup shortening, softened
1 Cup of granulated sugar
1 Egg
1/4 Cup of molasses
Sift together and stir into wet ingredients:
2 Cups sifted flour
2 Teaspoons of salt
2 Teaspoons of baking soda
1/4 Teaspoon of salt
1 Teaspoon of cinnamon
3/4 Teaspoon of cloves
3/4 Teaspoon of ginger
Mix thoroughly. Form into balls the size of small walnuts.  Place about 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes in a pre-heated 375 degree oven.  Dust the warm cookies with confectioners sugar (or place them face down into a bowl of confectioners sugar. That will make the cracks in the tops of the cookies stand out).
Makes 4-5 dozen.

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