Imagine yourself sitting in front of a nice warm crackling fire in the fireplace, your hands cupping a warm mug of fresh apple cider, the steam rising up and tickling your nose, and two warm spicy cookies on a plate beside you. Mmmmmmmm.
Many years ago, my great grandmother used to make spicy, cinnamon-y, sugary molasses cookies, and I loved to have them with a glass of cider. Somehow the cinnamon in the cookies made the cider all that much nicer. These days I sometimes substitute a cup of coffee or a cappuccino sprinkled with cinnamon, either way, these cookies are delicious.
The smell of fallen leaves, the browns, oranges, and yellows of nature, brisk temperatures, and shorter days all bring those pleasant memories flooding back to me. When I take a batch of molasses cookies out of the oven, and look at their sugary cracks of yummyness, I think of my grandmother and smile. Love always filled her kitchen, and I have always tried to make sure it has filled mine as well. I have had to adapt to making these cookies gluten free, but they have lost nothing in the translation. Here is my version of my great grandmother’s recipe.
**A word about gluten free all purpose flour: King Arthur gluten free all purpose flour falls into my category of *I LIKE. I’m not crazy about it but it is fairly inexpensive and widely available. I add xanthan gum when I use this flour, as it does not list it in the ingredients. My All purpose flour of choice is: XO Baking Co. Gluten Free Gourmet Baking Mix All Purpose Flour Blend (xobakingco.com). This is my favorite gluten free flour of all time, and earns my *CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT* rating. I use this flour for absolutely everything from breading chicken and pork chops, to baking, and everything in between. I keep a big jar of it in my cupboard, and buy it by the 5 pound bag from the website. It is $22.99 for 5 pounds plus shipping, but I gladly pay the extra cost for this superior product. A smaller 21 ounce box of flour is available for $8.99 if you would like to try this amazing product before committing to the larger bag. XO flour also contains xanthan gum in the correct proportions, so it will save you the cost of buying that separately.
MOLASSES COOKIES – GLUTEN FREE
- 3/4 Cup solid shortening (Crisco)
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar, tightly packed
- 1 Large Egg
- 4 Tablespoons DARK Molasses (very important to use the dark variety, the light doesn’t give enough molasses taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 2 teaspoons Baking Soda
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves
- 1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 2 1/4 Cups Gluten Free All Purpose Flour** (see comments above)
- 1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum (omit if using gf flour that already contains xanthan gum)
- White or Cane Sugar
Heat oven to 375.
Cream shortening and brown sugar thoroughly. Mix in molasses and egg. Add salt, soda, cloves, ginger and cinnamon, and mix thoroughly. Stir in flour and xanthan gum (if using). Roll dough into walnut sized balls, and dip the tops into white or cane sugar, flattening balls slightly.
Place dough on cookie sheet 2″ apart, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Makes 2 dozen.
Baking these cookies fills your house with the scent of the holidays. Enjoy them while you reflect on happy memories of days gone by, and the love that was baked into every bite.