Stella is my polish great-grandmother. My dad’s grandmother, and his father’s mother. Stella was born in Poland in the early 1900′s and made her way to America with her family as a young girl. She met my Polish great-grandfather in Yonkers, New York, and eventually I came into the picture.
This recipe was handed down to me from my grandma Norma, who is Stella’s daughter-in-law. My grandma remembers these cookies Stella used to make and would make them herself at times. Now, for the first time, I’ve made them.
When I think of molasses cookies I envision something hard and crunchy, but these were far from it. I was delightfully surprised by their light and soft texture. The recipe has you sift the dry ingredients… a lot! But after talking with my grandma, she said I could sift once or twice. She thinks the flour might have been different back then.
These cookies are very scrumptious and reminded me of a soft gingerbread. I know this isn’t a very modern cookie. It’s not the latest dessert fad, and it might not be on a stick or in a jar, but it’s old fashioned goodness.
Soft Molasses Cookies
3 cups cake flour (or AP flour, which I used)
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ginger
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg, unbeaten
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup sour milk or buttermilk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Sift flour once, measure, add baking soda, salt, and spices, and sift together 3 times. Cream shortening, add sugar gradually, creaming until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well; then add molasses.
Add flour, alternately, with milk, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla. Chill 1 to 2 hours, or until firm enough to hold shape. Drop from teaspoon on lightly greased baking sheet, placing about 2 inches apart. Bake at 400 degrees for 13-15 minutes. Makes 6 dozen cookies.