Thursday, August 4, 2011

Recipe from the Past: Dot Bolivar's Molasses Cookies

A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand. – Unknown

Photo: ilmungo, Flickr ccl
There’s not a lot of fancy pictures with this post, because there’s no need to have them. When an old handwritten note says “best ever” in different ink than the original recipe you know you have a winner. And a winner this is.

I found this recipe in my Great Aunt Hilda’s and Nettie’s small coil bound notepad. That’s where they kept all their favourite recipes. It’s the same little book where I discovered their "best ever donuts" recipe which I thought was lost in the mists of time. (Search "donuts" on this blog.)

This recipe is one that was probably asked for after the cookies were brought to a “tea.” In my home village the older generations used to hold teas at each other's homes. All sorts of baked delicacies would arrive with the ladies and be piled in the kitchen. 

My aunts had a collection of probably at least 20 china cups and saucers — all different patterns — for just those events. I remember hearing that some ladies even had different favourite cups they liked to use in different homes.

All those cups and saucers are still in the cupboard. I don’t have any use for them but don't have the heart to get rid of them. They're part of my memories of growing up.

Regardless, this recipe came from Dot Bolivar, my cousin’s grandmother who has since passed away. She was a famous home cook in the village. I can think of many recipes of hers that are my favourites. I earlier posted her Devil “Do” Dogs  and Toll House cookies recipes. 

I do remember these cookies. They’re delicious.

So here they are, hopefully preserved for posterity, and given to the world. Print this off and keep it in a safe place!

Dot’s Molasses Cookies
1 cup molasses
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 tbsp ginger, ground
1 tbsp baking soda
2 tbsp warm milk
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups flour
Sugar for dusting

Heat the molasses to boiling in a pot. Remove from the heat and stir in the shortening and ginger.

Dissolve the soda in the warm milk. Add to the molasses. Then add the salt and flour. Mix well.

Chill the mixture for at least 1/2 hour and then roll into balls. Flatten with the bottom of a glass and sprinkle with some sugar.

Like many old recipes it doesn't say how many balls you can get, so make them whatever size you want. You're supposed to know. The important thing is the thickness. They have to be no more than 1/4 inch thick when pressed to bake in the time allotted.

Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes.


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  1. Thanks for the recipe here, I was searching for some new bbq recipe for my wife and got it here. I will give it a hit and see if my wife can make it or not. Can you give details about the mushroom chicken recipe for my next bbq party?

    recipes for bbq