Grandmother Brandt’s Molasses Cookies

The girls and I baked these yummy cookies this morning. I was introduced to them when Sean and I were dating and we’d go to Wichita to spend a weekend with his family.  I was telling Katie about that as we were baking, about how it seemed Sean’s parents always had some of these in a fancy cookie jar. Katie replied, “Of course! This is Nana. She has a fancy something for everything!”

So, for friends who requested it, here is the recipe, from Sean’s father’s momma, Marjorie Brandt:

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Cream together 2 cups of sugar and 1.5 cups of shortening.  Accept right now that this is not health food.  Deep breath.  All good? Good.

Add and beat until fluffy: 2 eggs and 1/2 cup of molasses. I know there are different kinds of molasses, with sulfur and without, medicinal and not. I’ve used several kinds and they all taste fine in the cookies. But if you need to use high iron unsulfured fairy dust molasses for the health benefits in the tempting but misguided attempt to counteract the first two ingredients, be my guest. And hey, eggs! Protein! We can have these for breakfast, right?

Add 4 cups flour, 4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp cloves. Refrigerate at least one hour. Don’t skip this step. It’s important. Also, if you’re a cookie dough aficionado, don’t panic about the taste of this dough. I usually prefer dough to the baked cookie, but I do not particularly like this dough pre-cooked.

Roll into walnut-sized balls and dip tops in sugar. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet 10 minutes at 350*. Be careful not to overbake these. When you see the cracks, they’re done even if they don’t look like it. If you over bake, you will lose the chewy factor that makes these cookies so ridonculous. Grandmother Brandt knew the size of a walnut. I have to admit that I do not. We made balls that had about the circumference of the top of a small pharmacy bottle. The temptation is to go big or go home, but small is good with these. We got 95 cookies from this recipe.

Cool 10 minutes on cookie sheet, then remove to paper towels to cool. The cookies need time to chill out and get set. Try to take them off the sheet too early and they smoosh.

Take a moment, once they are cool, to admire the underside of these cookies. They’re PERFECT. It’s just a beautiful cookie, inside and out.  Thank you, Grandmother Brandt!

Enjoy!

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