This is one of my favorite cookie recipes ever, for a few different reasons. First of all, they are just great cookies, rich with the flavors of molasses and ginger and cinnamon and sugar. Second, they are a snap to make, and they turn out perfectly every time. But most importantly, I make them from a recipe card handwritten by my grandmother, one of the most amazing people I have ever known. I don’t remember her as being particularly interesting in cooking, but what she made, she made well. I have a crystal-clear memory of being sent outside to play in the mornings on her beautiful Vermont farm with two slices of hot buttered cinnamon toast – one for each hand — and I have never been able to replicate the particular taste of that toast. She made fantastic pancakes (with Vermont maple syrup of course), and always said she would make as many as we could eat, even if it was HUNDREDS, which my brother and I thought was one of the best things we had ever heard of.
She also made these perfect molasses cookies, and luckily for me at some point she wrote out the recipe for me, in her handwriting that I remember so well right to this day. I don’t know why I don’t make them more often, but every once in a while something reminds me of them and I just have to have them. The other day I was at Sissy’s Kitchen, which is fittingly in my grandmother’s Vermont town of Middletown Springs, and Sissy had a jar of something labeled “Gingersnaps.” 25 cents each. I bought — well, never mind how many.
There they are in that jar in the middle. And while Sissy may think they are gingersnaps, they tasted very much like my grandma’s molasses cookies, and to be eating them right in the middle of Middletown Springs…well, let’s just say it took me back a little.
And so here I am back from vacation in New Jersey, and one of the first things I wanted to do was find that recipe and make those molasses cookies. Sure enough, they were as sweet and spicy and dependable and wonderful as ever. Just like my Grandma.
GRANDMA’S MOLASSES COOKIES (which she attributes on the card to Fanny Farmer)