Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Soft Molasses Cookies

My mom is a savant when it comes to cooking up... well... anything, really, but especially treats like cheesecakes and cookies. One of the recipes she came up with in my youth that causes cravings, y'all, is her Soft Ginger Cookies with Citrus Glaze. She gave me the recipe once, when we thought we might make them and sell them... unfortunately, they are time-consuming, very fragile and perishable, and I can't help but eat one myself for every one finished for someone else. Needless to say, that idea didn't get very far... but at least I had The Recipe.

Then- tragedy of all culinary tragedies- I lost the recipe she gave me. I'm sure I'll find it somewhere in my kitchen some day... it'll be somewhere obscure, like the inside of my potato bin or something, that seemed like the perfect 'safe place' at the time to stash such a precious confectionery masterpiece... you know, one of those places where you think, 'My recipe book is waaaay too obvious of a place for this little gem, but if I put it here, I'll always remember where it is and no one else will stumble upon it!' Darn the luck.

Bad news, though, loosing the recipe doesn't quell the cravings. Rather than swallow my pride and ask for it again (and risk it not actually being the same, since she doesn't technically cook or bake using recipes, and would ballpark the ingredients' measurements for my sake, which would get me close but not close enough, since the only way to get the real recipe is to take notes while she is baking them, which is how I got the recipe the first time), I delved into my cookbooks, and came up with this close runner up, courtesy of Betty Crocker (plus a few of my own tweaks). The citrus glaze is just the icing on the cake, so to speak (ha, ha), and not really a complicated secret, so that, I know, is at least pretty genuine.

So, without further adieu, here is a daughter's attempt at replicating something great:

Soft Molasses Cookies with (or without) Citrus Glaze
(based on Betty Crocker's Soft Molasses Cookies from this book)
3/4 C sugar
3/4 C sour cream
1/2 C (1 stick) butter at room temp
1/2 C shortening
1/2 C blackstrap molasses, unsulphured if possible
1 large egg
3 C unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375F (don't use convection setting if possible, cookies will dry out too fast). Cream sugar with sour cream, butter, and shortening until fluffy. Add egg, molasses, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Add flour mixture to molasses mixture and carefully combine, making sure you don't over-mix (will be a very light, very sticky dough). Dollop with spoon in mounds about 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about ten minutes, or until edges are just golden and centers no longer look shiny. Cool completely before trying to lift from parchment, because these guys are soft and will fall apart if handled warm. Glaze- once cooled- if desired.

Citrus Glaze

~1 C powdered sugar
zest from one orange, tangerine, or tangelo
juice from same orange, tangerine, or tangelo (zest before juicing)
zest from one lemon
juice from half of same lemon

Combine sugar and zests, then slowly add juices until desired glaze consistency is achieved. Spoon over cooled cookies and allow to dry completely before handling. 

*Do not stack these cookies unless you put waxed paper or parchment paper between the layers or they will stick together, with or without the glaze!

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