my grandma's friend gladys' molasses cookies

i have no doubt that my love of christmas comes from my grandmother. while i told you about her fudge last christmas, this year has been all about her cookies.

when we were kids, while simultaneously subtly fighting over fudge, we were snacking on cookies. so it's no surprise that as soon as i learned my dad had her cookbook - an old, beat up, five subject notebook with mostly handwritten recipes in her shorthand - i borrowed it and searched for the cookie recipes. they weren't hard to find since the pages were splattered with grease and butter and some stuck together with bits of old dough. they are the most used pages and for good reason. in the almost six years since she's been gone, this is the first year i've had enough foresight to make a few of her cookies for christmas.

while these aren't the cookies she's known for - her snowballs are still to come - i couldn't resist these molasses cookies. they're not too sweet in the least, making a thin coat of glaze the perfect way to top them. they're soft, unlike all the chewy cookies i've been baking up lately. they freeze well, keep well in an airtight container for a few days, and like all recipes from 50+ years ago, have a simple ingredients list from a well stocked pantry.

my grandma's friend gladys' molasses cookies
1 hour, makes about 36 

the cookie recipe hasn't been touched from grandma's handwritten version; the glaze i added myself. i also made a few of these with white chocolate chips mixed in that were delicious.

for the cookies:
3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup water
2 level teaspoons baking soda
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves

for the glaze:
about 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
about 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
couple tablespoons of milk
  1. preheat your oven to 350F. grease a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. in a large bowl, cream the shortening and sugar. 
  3. mix in the egg until combined. 
  4. mix in the molasses and water until combined.
  5. mix in the baking soda, flour, salt, and spices.
  6. drop cookies about a tablespoon each onto the greased baking sheet (i used an oxo medium scoop). bake 10 to 12 minutes or until slightly brown. let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. if freezing, freeze unglazed cookies. bring frozen cookies back to room temperature before glazing.
  7. while the cookies cool, make the glaze by whisking the powdered sugar and ground cinnamon. slowly whisk in the milk, a tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency.
  8. when the cookies are cool, drizzle the glaze over them or dip the tops in the glaze. let the glaze harden before storing in an airtight container.

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