Grandma’s Ginger Molasses Cookies

So I’ve been feeling a little Grinchy these last couple of days… I even watched A Charlie Brown Christmas for some inspiration…

It’s one of my favorite holiday specials, and really, what’s not to like?! From the killer Vince Guaraldi Trio jazz soundtrack, to the humor that’s still hilarious decades later (“Christmas is run by a big eastern syndicate you know”), to the larger message of consumerism vs. spirituality that also holds true in today’s modern shopping society.

Charlie Brown goes to see Lucy for some psychiatric advice… her suggestion: “you need REAL involvement.” Involvement.  Sounds like a pretty good antidote to me.  Easy to be glum sitting on the sidelines, watching the frenzy from afar.  But harder to maintain, with hot fragrant cookies fresh from the oven, that you helped create.

So in the interest of putting my Grinchy self back in a box, here is Grandma Sherman’s Ginger Molasses Cookie recipe.  She called them “Million Dollar Gingersnaps,” but I prefer to bake them chewy, so no snap for this girl.

  • 1/2 c margarine
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c molasses (unsulfured)
  • 2 c sifted flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger

Cream margarine and sugar until light.  Beat in egg and molasses.  Mix dry ingredients together and add to batter gradually.  Beat well.  (Dough will be soft).  Cover and chill in fridge, ideally overnight.

That’s it for the pre-baking part.  It’s pretty easy, but there are a few noteworthy points:

1) Do not be tempted to substitute butter for margarine.  Believe me, I believe butter makes everything better, but not these cookies.  You will lose the crisp/chewy consistency.

2) Make sure to sift the flour before measuring.  Crucial for correct consistency.

3) Follow instructions and add dry ingredients gradually for smooth soft dough (I forgot this and look how lumpy my dough turned out.  Hopefully the finished product will not suffer too terribly.)

4) Dough must be thoroughly chilled before baking, otherwise you can’t roll it into balls. Don’t try to bake immediately… you’ve gotta be a little patient.

cookie recipe, margarine and sugar

Now for the baking part…

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Lightly grease cookie sheet
  • Roll dough into 1 inch balls
  • Roll balls in sugar (I added this touch!)
  • Place balls approximately 3 inches apart on cookie sheet (they will flatten & spread while cooking)
  • Bake 8-10 minutes (start with a few testers to get desired crispness or chewiness)
  • Allow cookies to remain on cookie sheet 2-3 minutes before removing to cooling rack (immediate removal results in smushed cookies)

cookie dough on cookie sheet

cookies on cookie sheet

cookies on cooling rack

cookies to share

So not really “art,” I know. But kinda artful. And definitely delicious.

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