Wednesday, December 29

Warmth in the coldness

Winter air can be so gosh darn cold! But, in (so far successful!) efforts to appreciate winter this year, I am finding comfort in the many things that make me warm. For instance, as I type this, I am pausing (only temporarily) from my new knitting project. I just put a tea kettle on the stovetop and am lounging in my cozy long-johns and thick wool socks, as I listen to a winter-time favorite, Bon Iver. Suddenly, things seem a little warmer, and there is a resinating warmth in my soul. I will try to focus this energy to maintain this inner warmth throughout the winter months.

Today my soul is warmed by the anticipation of visiting several dear friends, in Omaha tomorrow. And what a better way to continue to spread the warmth, then to bake a batch of winter cookies. I don't know a single soul that does not love warm cookies in the wintertime! 
One of my favorite cookies is molasses. Recently, when planning to bake molasses cookies for the arrival of Omaha friends in Milwaukee, I went in search of a good recipe. I personally did not have a recipe for molasses cookies, but I did recall, that my dear friend Mara's mother had made me some delicious molasses cookies a while back. So I gave Mrs. Brandli a call in hopes that she would so graciously share her recipe. Much to my delight, she did, and she shared the story as well. In fact, the recipe that she had shared with me was a recipe that was shared with her from her mother-in-law, Grandma Brandli. 

Now let me temporarily diverge for just a moment to tell you about Grandma Brandli! She is a wonderful, wonderful woman, who is so full of joy and love. In fact, a while back, she welcomed myself and our friends into her home as we ventured west to visit Monroe, Wisconsin for Cheese Days (Mara's grandpa was a cheese master and owned his very own cheese company). It seems that the entire time we spent at her home, our bellies were as full as they could be, as she continuously presented us with treat after treat, all which she had made. When Mrs. Brandli told me that the recipe for her molasses cookies were of Grandma Brandli's, I knew the recipe was extra special. 

I am so thankful that Mrs. Brandli has shared this recipe, and with her permission, I am happy to share it further. I only hope that this recipe will bring you as much warmth as it has to me, and hopefully will bring to those whom I share my cookies with. 
Grandma Brandli's Molasses Crinkles
3/4 cup of shortening (You need to use either vegetable shortening or lard; not butter... It just simply won't work, trust me!)
1 cup of brown sugar
1 egg
4 tablespoons of molasses (or sorghum syrup)
2 1/2 cups of sifted flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ground ginger

1. Cream shortening, sugar and egg. Beat well! Add molasses and mix well.

2. Sift together the dry ingredients and then gradually combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients.

3. Shape into the size of a walnut and flatten. Cover each cookie with sugar before placing on a well greased cookie pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes*.

*Note: they may not look done, but they probably are! After trying this recipe a few times, I have learned what a "finished" cookie looks like. They are still tasty if they bake too long, just a bit crunchier!

Happy eating (with wishes of warmth!) 

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