Tis The Season

Cookies are made of butter and love.

– Norwegian proverb

Have you ever been to a cookie swap?

I hadn’t before this weekend. But the idea of an entire event, the sole purpose of which is giving and receiving an array of different kinds of cookies just sounds like a good idea.

A really good idea.

So when I was invited to the 1st Annual Vintage Cookie Swap by my internship director and fellow food blogger of The Vintage Eats Project (you should really check it out!), it was kind of a no-brainer.

And lucky for me, I just recently came into ownership of a small stack of very vintage cookbooks. Fyi, should you ever need Mrs. Eugene G., Jr.’s recipe for Prune Cake from the Junior League of Maine’s cookbook – call me. I’ll hook you up.

After some great deliberation, I finally settled on Mrs. William H. Guernsey’s Molasses Cookies from the Three Rivers Cookbook (I).

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They seemed simple enough, I had all the ingredients on hand, and that “Very good” – well, that just sealed the deal.

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And so on a very, very cold Saturday at the chocolate tarte in Somerville, a cookie feast – and many a sugar coma – ensued. There were lemon drops with homemade lemon curd, chocolate Reeses cookies, and Austrian rumballs. Mine were the 2nd tin of molasses-rich goodies to appear, but they were very different. Gingerbread is, of course, a given and I am most certainly getting my hands on that recipe (made by Madame Vintage Eats herself) – but I’d be lying if I told you my favorite weren’t the Ninjabread Men.

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I’m sorry, but sometimes it is concept over all else. And what’s more, apparently even the recipe directs one to “sneak out of the night to preheat to 350” and “stealthily roll out the dough.” This is a brainstorm done very, very well. I need these.

I was, however, also a big fan of the Apricot Jumbles – butter, coconut, apricots, eggs, and whatever nut you choose. This particular baker chose walnuts and I would find it difficult to go in another direction because these were delicious. And very unique!

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As for my couple dozen? A definite keeper. I would highly recommend this recipe. In fact, I will probably be making more this weekend. Tis the season, after all.

Molasses Cookies

slightly adapted from the Three Rivers Cookbook I

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen

You’ll need:

  • cookie sheet, nonstick spray
  • 3/4 stick Imperial margarine, softened
  • 1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp. molasses (not blackstrap)
  • 1 c. + 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour (sifted, if you’re able)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 (heaping) tsp. cinnamon
  • raw sugar for sprinkling

1. Preheat your oven to 375 F.

2. Cream the margarine – I did this by hand quite easily, but it did make them a bit more rustic than I’m sure Mrs. Guernsey preferred.

Note: The recipe originally called for shortening but did give the option for margarine. I use Imperial margarine because it’s what my grandmother uses, and what my mother taught me to use. I know it’s not technically “real food” – but a little hydrogenization here and there really won’t kill you. I’ve eaten enough cookie dough to know from experience.

3. Add the sugar, then the egg, and then the molasses. No special order – just leave the dry last.

4. Add your flour and spices. I would have sifted if all 3 of my sifters weren’t currently out of commission, but alas, it wasn’t to be. So whether you are sifterless or just lazy…they will still turn out fine. Rustic.

5. Drop the batter into teaspoon-sized balls onto the nonstickified cookie sheet and try to leave as much space in between them as possible. See pictures below. (I used an actual teaspoon to do this.)

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6. Bake cookies for 6 minutes – they won’t be done yet, but take them out and sprinkle a bit of raw sugar on top for a nice little crunch. Return them to the oven for 3 more minutes – these babies bake fast.

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7. Let them cool for a good while before placing them into an adorable little cookie tin and going merrily on your cookie-swapping way!

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I have halved this recipe because baking 5 dozen cookies seemed slightly excessive – but if you double it, don’t add an extra egg. The full recipe calls for one egg but it doesn’t really work to use “half an egg” when one halves a recipe; the different is very slight.

These may not be the prettiest cookies, but in my world, this is not the season to focus on a cookie’s outward appearance so much as their sweet, soft and spicy souls.

And tomorrow I begin my 12 Days of Christmas Blogging – curious? Stay tuned.

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One thought on “Tis The Season

  1. Pingback: Creep In the New Year « When Bread is Broken

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