Authentic Molasses Cookies

Molasses has been a popular ingredient in New England cooking since at least the nineteenth century. Clipper ships brought cane sugar to New England from Caribbean islands, and rum and molasses were manufactured here. A bizarre disaster occurred long ago in Boston's North End when a huge molasses storage tank ruptured resulting in many deaths.

My wife was given this recipe and told it was quite old; the results are anything but a disaster! Wafer thin and crisp, these are like no other molasses cookie we've ever had. The dough stores well in the refrigerator and can be sliced and cooked in minutes. The best molasses we've ever had is sold at The Old Country Store at Moultonborough Corner in Moultonborough, New Hampshire which boasts of being a country store since 1781.

by Charlie Burke - Food Writer for The Heart of New England

1 cup molasses
1/2 pound butter
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup hot water
4 cups flour
2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Heat the molasses to a boil. Remove from heat and add butter, stirring until melted. Place the sugar in a deep bowl and add soda to the hot water; pour water into the molasses. Pour the molasses mixture into the bowl of sugar and thoroughly mix. Add spices, flour and salt and mix with molasses and sugar. Pour into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper or waxed paper and refrigerate about an hour.

Preheat oven to 325. Cut dough as thin as possible and bake on a non-stick surface or a greased sheet for 15 minutes. Cool on a rack as soon as done. They will be great for the holidays, and we're betting they'll be a family favorite.

Note: About the author: An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the vice president of the New Hampshire Farmer's Market Association (www.nhfma.org) and helps run the Sanbornton Farmers' Market. His column & recipes appear weekly in The Heart of New England's newsletter... get a free subscription by sending a blank email to:[email protected] or visit www.TheHeartofNewEngland.com.


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