Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Perfect Molasses Cookie

Ahh yes, I have entered into the crazy, blissful state that is Christmas cookie baking.  There is nothing I look forward to more during the holidays than baking goodies with my loved ones.  Usually I do all my baking with my mom, but since she couldn't join me today, I baked these cookies with my son and his little buddy.  Albeit a little messy, (as cooking with two year olds can be), it was a joyful experience nonetheless.

Growing up, I had the consummate grandma.  She, like many other grammies, knew how to cook and bake everything perfectly.  Her fudge was the fudgiest, her cakes the fluffiest, her homemade bread so delectable.  I remember how she would laugh as she talked about "spanking the bread dough so it would grow up right".  Silly ol' Gram T.  Even as the years passed and our family became smaller, she always put out an impressive feast for us, enough to feed an army, I used to joke.  She was a woman who wore many hats, and excelled at each one.  Selfless, humble, quirky, strong, caring, and peaceful, she truly was a remarkable woman. 

I used to park myself in the kitchen and just watch her make her magic.  I remember with fervor the sights and sounds of her kitchen.  It was like an orchestra, the sound of bacon crackling, the constant thud of her wooden spoon against the bowl, the warmth of the oven, the tantalizing aromas drifting about, it seems like only yesterday.  I learned many things from my Gram T, and can only hope I turned out to be a glimmer of the woman she was.  One of the greatest things she taught me was to put family before everything else and to make as many memories together as time would allow.  She showed her love in a multitude of ways, none more sweet than through her cooking. 

She was the master of cookies.  She made every kind and she made them well.  Chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter, and molasses.  I knew if we were going to Gram's, she would have a plate of fresh baked cookies waiting.  She even made an extra batch of cookies without nuts especially for me because she knew that's how I liked them.  I don't know where she managed to find the time to make a special batch just for me, but she always did.  Just one of the perks of being the granddaughter of this amazing woman.

It's been over a decade since she's been gone, fifteen years to be exact.  Seems hard to believe.  Every time I step into the kitchen I am reminded of her.  Every batch of cookies I pull out of the oven makes her spirit shine a little brighter.  Thankfully, my mom and I have slipped into her role, baking and cooking together as much as we can.  Sometimes, when mom and I are in the kitchen, and I'm enveloped by the sights and smells of the season, I can feel her presence and I know she's looking at us... and she is proud.

Molasses Cookies

3/4 c butter, melted
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1 organic, free range egg
1/3 c unsulphured molasses
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground cloves
3/4 t ground ginger
1/2 c white sugar

In a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter, sugars, and egg until smooth. Stir in the molasses. Combine the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger; blend into the molasses mixture.  Cover bowl and chill for one hour. 
Preheat oven to 375 . Roll dough into walnut sized balls, and roll in the remaining white sugar. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto baking sheets lined with a Silpat.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until tops are cracked. Cool on wire racks.

These are even better the next day!

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