Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows that I love to bake… And, I especially love cookies. So, when I saw some tweets about the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap hosted by Julie from The Little Kitchen and Lindsay from Love and Olive Oil, I knew that I just had to be a part of it. After all, it’s all about connecting with other bloggers and baking cookies. What’s not to love?
Of course, I couldn’t just make any cookies for a food blogger cookie swap. I wanted to make something special, so instead of just picking a new recipe from one of my cookbooks, I decided to pull out my copy of Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book (circa 1950, though you can still buy a facsimile version) that I received from my grandmother before she passed away. She was a great baker, and I always love paging through the book because the recipes remind me of things she used to make.
Part of what I love about the cookbook is the way the recipes are written. They look like the recipe cards that were passed down to me by my grandmother and others in my family. They are recipes written for people who bake… Instead of just giving a number of minutes to bake a pound cake, the recipe will say to bake until the top springs back. After all, isn’t checking to see if the top springs back a much more reliable way to bake a cake than to set a timer?
And, of course, there are also the illustrations. Each of the old cookbooks I have has cute illustrations to accompany the recipes. Sure, there are a few photographs here and there, but most of the pages just have an illustration or two. While I do love modern cookbooks full of glamorous food photos, there is just something that feels right about paging through my grandmother’s old cookbook.
As I searched through the cookie section of the cookbook, the recipe for molasses crinkles immediately caught my eye. The head note for the recipe mentions that the cookies are, “thick, chewy, with crackled, sugary tops.” They sounded pretty perfect to me. I always prefer chewy cooks to crisp ones, and I had a feeling that this was the molasses cookie recipe I’ve been looking for.
You see, I love baking with dark molasses… It’s one of my favorite flavors, and not just for the holidays. Gingerbread cookies are always a favorite of mine for Christmas, but lately I’d been craving some nice, chewy ginger cookies. I hadn’t quite found a recipe that I was happy with yet, but I figured the recipe from the Betty Crocker cookbook was worth a shot.
I modernized the recipe a bit as I was trying it out. I prefer to bake with butter instead of shortening, so that was my first substitution. Of course, I opted to just whisk together the dry ingredients instead of sifting. It may have been the way to go in 1950, but it certainly isn’t necessary these days! Oh, and did I mention that in the recipe it says to roll the dough into balls “the size of large walnuts”? I just love that! I did use a small cookie dough scoop, though.
When all was said and done, I was really thrilled with how the cookies turned out. As promised, the cookies were chewy with crackled sugary tops. The edges got a bit crisp, but the insides were perfectly soft and chewy. I finally found the recipe I’d been looking for!
Who knew that the recipe had been resting in a special place on my kitchen shelf all that time? Perhaps my grandmother somehow knew that I’d need this recipe one day… I feel like it was a little Christmas surprise from her!
Makes approximately 3 1/2 dozen cookies
(Adapted from Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book)
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup dark molasses
- 2 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 cup raw sugar
Cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy in texture. Add the egg and beat until well incorporated. Add the molasses, and beat to incorporate.
Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture just until they are incorporated into the dough. Chill the dough for at least 2 hours (I let mine chill overnight).
When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon liner. Use a small cookie scoop (approximately 2 tablespoons) to scoop out cookies. Roll the cookies in the raw sugar before placing them on the baking sheet.
Bake for 11-12 minutes, until the cookies are just set, but are not hard. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Be sure to check out The Little Kitchen and Love and Olive Oil for a complete list of all of the cookies baked as a part of the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. I am posting my recipe for the swap a bit early due to another blogging commitment on Monday, Dec. 12th… Be sure to stop back then for another great holiday baking recipe and a giveaway!
Please Note – The links to Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book provided in this post are Amazon affiliate links.