I tried a variety of recipes for a special treat with which to welcome our guests. I wanted an old-fashioned recipe that harkened to the past and would likely have been baked in our house (in the 1880s). At that time, use of white sugar was rare and expensive; molasses was the common sweetener. And there were no chocolate chips - they weren't even invented until 1937! I wanted something simple and humble - not fancy. I wanted something practical so that it could be baked regularly and on short notice. I wanted something yummy - with just the right balance of chewiness and crunch. I settled on this recipe and adapted it a bit. It's a molasses-ginger crackle-top cookie. I coat them with coarse sugar so they sparkle (which certainly wasn't around in the 1880s!). It's essential that they sparkle! We call them Welcome Cookies. They're baked freshly the day of each guest arrival (I keep unbaked cookie balls prepped in the freezer). They're tucked into tiny white, paper bags which are jotted with a welcome note and sealed with a heart sticker. ❤️
They're our WELCOME! 🗝
The DEARING WELCOME COOKIES
1 c shortening
2 c brown sugar (packed)
Blend in and beat until light and fluffy:
1 egg, well beaten
1 c. dark molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract
In a separate bowl, sift together:
4 c. flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ginger
Gradually blend flour mixture into creamed mixture. Mix well.
Chill dough - overnight, if possible. Roll into 1” balls. Roll in sparkle sugar. Bake 10-12 min. DO NOT OVERBAKE - they should crackle over the top - but barely! As soon as you remove them from the oven, drop the pan on the counter from about 8” up - really!! This flattens the cookies which keeps them chewier.
Cool on a rack. Package in small white paper bags with a welcome note. Seal with a heart sticker. ❤️
Freeze unbaked cookie balls (after rolling in sugar). Bake in small batches for guest arrivals.