i’ll tell you what i want, what i really really want

July 25, 2010

Reader C sent in a request for a chewy molasses cookie.  She then clarified that the request was really for her mom, who had been trying for years to recreate her grandmother’s cookies.  Talk about a no-pressure request!  Research was a little frustrating, as it seemed like so many of the recipes I found ended up in crispy, not chewy cookies.  I for sure needed chewy, not only for C, but for myself.  I have memories of my mom taking me to a small bakery near our house, and I always thought it was a special treat when I was able to get a hermit cookie to munch on.  They were flavorful and chewy, packed with spices and raisins, and they were the biggest cookies in the display.  Who could resist?

While the cookie I ended up with isn’t a hermit (no raisins or nuts), it does have a deep molasses flavor, and the spices almost seem to sneak up on you before leaving a glowing aftertaste.  And the chew?  Oh my goodness, these are some of the most satisfyingly chewy cookies I’ve ever made.  Results were sent into work with mrslovey, with a portion set back specifically for C and her mom.  I’m hoping that even if they’re not exactly like Gram’s, they’re close enough to keep the memories fresh and bring a smile to her face.


1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup shortening

1 stick (4 ounces) softened butter

1/2 cup molasses

2 large eggs

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

granulated sugar (to roll cookies)

  • Cream together sugars, shortening, and butter.  Add molasses and eggs, beat to incorporate.
  • Add dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
  • Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.
  • Heat oven to 350F, and either line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or else lightly grease them.
  • Roll dough into balls (about 2 tablespoons, I used a medium cookie scoop).  Roll each ball in the granulated sugar to coat.  Place approximately 2 inches apart.
  • Bake for 13 minutes.  They will still be REALLY soft and fragile, this is ok.  Let them cool in the pan for a minute or two before transferring to wire rack.
  • Once completely cooled store in a zippy bag to keep them moist.


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