14 November 2010

My favorite cookies...

These molasses cookies are my absolute favorite cookies!  I make them all year long, but they bring back the best memories during autumn and winter.  Days of walking across the road for tea and cookies with my Grandmother (yes it's a Frances Prochaska recipe) and then when John and I married, Grandma would send me care packages of cookies to North Dakota.  These are chewy molasses cookies, chuck full of dates, raisins and nuts and not too sweet...I like to pretend they are nutritional with all those goodies!

Make these on a day you are feeling strong, as the dough is heavy and often my KitchAid mixer complains about the mixing!  Because I have a self control issue with these cookies, I can only make one pan full at a time, or bake them all and freeze the majority.  They freeze beautifully for about 6 weeks.  Feel free to substitute any dried fruit you may have on hand, I have succesfully added dried cranberries and dried figs.  Watch your baking time, as you want the cookies to be chewy.  


1 cup molasses, light or dark, your preference
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
4 ounces pitted, chopped dates
4 ounces raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup melted vegetable shortening
1 cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon baking soda
1/2 Tablespoon salt
1/2 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 Tablespoon vanilla extract
5 1/2 cups all purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, blend all wet ingredients and sugars.  Add spices and other dry ingredients with fruit and nuts last.  Dough is heavy and you may have to mix in fruit and nuts with wooden spoon or hands.

Refrigerate dough AT LEAST 8 hours , but its best overnight.  Roll out dough to desired thickness, I usually choose about 3/8 of an inch.  Cut into desired shapes (I use a round, metal cookie cutter with a sharp edge to cut through fruit or nuts) place on baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes.  I like to sprinkle the cookies with a bit of raw sugar for added sweetness and some sparkle!  The raw sugar also enhances the molasses-y flavors!  

Grab a cup of tea and watch the snowflakes swirl!   

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