WWII Molasses Spice Cookies

Okay, I know I said I was going to have lots of different stuff on this blog.  Stuff like how to make adorable home decor and tips for hunting through thrift stores and general sure-to-be-awesome advice.  And I promise, I will.  I’ll mix it up.  The things is…lately I’ve been on a huge baking kick.  Maybe it’s the unusually rainy weather we’ve been having here in Colorado, or maybe it’s the fact that my friend Christine just bought me the wicked cool gluten/dairy/sugar-free cookbook from Babycakes, but all I’ve wanted to do lately is produce lots and lots of cookies.  So for now you’re getting more recipes.

I’m gonna bust into that Babycakes book very soon here, since I’m planning a gluten-free trial run, but at the moment I’ve been completely enamored of the 1963 Betty Crocker Cooky Book.  I sort of love romanticizing eras I never experienced, and this book is a nostalgic record of mid-century life.  It’s full of strange Nordic recipes, almost everything contains shortening, the color pictures are wholly unappealing, and there are helpful gems like “Many homemakers double the recipe…” and “We suggest starting early so that you can be free to take part in all the activities of the holiday.”  Because, you know, us ladies know our place.

This book really is a winner. It contains the sugar cookie recipe I am totally famous for (I mean…in my limited circles), which I will be posting about shortly.  It also contains a recipe for a World War Two-era molasses cookie, and notes the recipe was meant to save on sugar and butter during rationing periods.  Charming, right?  As long as you didn’t actually have to live through it.  I decided to revive this recipe, and can I say: Betty got it right.  These cookies are soft and have just the right amount of sweet and spice.  Trust me on this one.  Do up your victory curls and try it.

Molasses Spice “Jumbles”

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening (I used butter)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves
  • 1/2 cup cold water

Heat oven to 375 and lightly grease a baking sheet.

Cream shortening (butter) and sugar thoroughly, then stir in molasses.

Mix the dry ingredients (the book also advises, “Don’t be alarmed at the amount of baking soda; it makes the cooky more tender.”).  Blend the dry mixture into the creamed mixture alternately with water.

Drop heaping teaspoonfuls of dough about two inches apart on the cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes.

The book says this recipe makes about four dozen cookies; I halved the recipe (and can I say, it is all types of weird making cookies with only TWO AND A HALF TABLESPOONS of butter) and I got 22 cookies, which came out to 75 calories each.  They’re slightly chewy just out of the oven and sooo perfect for rainy weather.  You will not be disappointed.


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