Molasses Drop Cookies -- Another Yummy and Nutritious Vintage Recipe
Dropping the batter
Recipe for Molasses Drop Cookies
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup molasses (we used black-strap for extra richness and flavor)
- 2 cups flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder (1 tablespoon)
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Cream shortening and sugar. Add milk, eggs, molasses, then dry ingredients. Drop by spoonfuls one inch apart. Again, there were no baking instructions because, after all, all women knew how do that. We baked at 375 for about 10 minutes but take care not to over-bake.
Notes about ingredients:
We used Crisco in this recipe because my mother must have used Crisco or Spry. We had plenty of butter and lard on the farm but she apparently thought shortening resulted in a better outcome.
Also, my father (born in 1883) raised his own cane because he loved molasses so much. We harvested the cane and took it to a neighbor who processed it for the syrup. The neighbor also pressed our apples so that we could have cider and vinegar. Anyway, we always had molasses ... my father ate that and honey (from the bees he raised) on home-made biscuits, bread, and pancakes. Our molasses was so thick biscuits crumbled, unless warmed.
- To further explain how much my father liked molasses in cooking, there are three different molasses cookies in my mother's recipe collection!! Will include one or both of these in another Hub soon.
Honey, Molasses, Sorghum trivia
As I mentioned above, my father had bees. I am not sure if it was merely to always have honey on hand or partially because he also grew fruit trees. He had a positive relationship with his bees. Although he usually wore a protective head covering, he was also able to convince a swarm to wrap themselves around a gloved arm and hand, then walk to an empty hive, tap on it, and they would enter the hive. I always thought they laid in wait for me to leave the house and then attacked my braided hair so obviously I did not have a positive relationship with bees.
Honey works very well in many baked products. Sometimes, there may be a need to make slight adjustments when substituting honey for sugar but the baked goods are usually more moist. I purchased a copy like the eBay cookbook a few years ago which, by the way, has the most delicious carrot layer cake with cream cheese frosting. Before buying, however, I first checked a few honey cookbooks out from the library to make sure which one met my specific needs. Of course, there were no on-line auctions then and the thrift shops did not have the inventory they do now so one would usually have to pay the full price.
Molasses can also be used successfully in baking but keep in mind the flavor can overwhelm other flavors when substituting. Molasses works well in spice cakes and in some cookie recipes. The best bet would either make a recipe that calls for molasses or experiment by replacing a bit of sugar with a bit of molasses to start with. Of course, molasses and honey are both good in baked beans and even in chili.
The taste, texture, and viscosity of sorghum is much different than molasses. I remember my father eating sorghum and assumed he grew the plant himself but have learned since that it was not grown locally.
It is fun to do this at any time but when Halloween and harvest celebrations are approaching the whole family can take part in decorating the dark molasses cookies with orange faces or even make them look like pumpkins!