Fun Fact: I straighten my hair most mornings, but in the humid summer months I still end up looking like a Cocker Spaniel by the time I get to work.
Revelation: Perhaps, when I was craving a spicy, chewy kind of dessert, what I really craved was fall. As in autumn?
Rumination: Clear, crisp, beautiful autumn? Remember it? When all the plants are dying but it's OK because that's just the freaking cycle of life and not because it's August and there's a drought and it's all kind of depressing?
Remedy: Make some chewy, spicy cookies and just pretend fall is already here.
That's what I did last weekend, and lo and behold, about five days later, the temperature dropped to a mostly tolerable temperature and we got about a teaspoon of rain. MAGIC.
These Molasses Sugar Cookies are one of Grandma Haase's--Marilyn's maternal grandmother--recipes, written out by hand and tucked away in Marilyn's recipe box for 35 years or so. With a little research on the ol' Internets, I learned Grandma Haase's handwritten recipe is identical to the one on the back of the Brer Rabbit Molasses bottle in the 1940s and 1950s.
Word for word.
Not exactly the kind of dessert that screams mid-August but that's pretty much the point.
Make these, and fall will come sooner. I promise.
If you need any more evidence that this is a mid-century recipe, consider that you start by melting shortening in a saucepan. Chad walked into the kitchen while I was doing this and asked if I was making fried chicken.
Speaking of shortening, this is what's going to make your cookies chewy. The flavors in this are similar to a ginger snap, but instead of the flat and crispy effect you'd get from using butter as your fat, you're going to get a chewier and slightly more plump cookie.
I poured my melted shortening into a bowl to expedite the cooling process, then added the rest of the wet ingredients, followed by the dry.
And then I mixed it by hand, just like in the olden days.
The dough chilled in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, and then I rolled chunks into balls and gave them a little spin in granulated sugar.
After about 8 minutes in the oven, it was much easier to continue my charade that fall was already here.
These were good.
Like, give me a cup of cider spiked with bourbon and a couple of these things and I'll rake all your leaves and carve all your pumpkins and because it's beautiful outside GOOD.
Crispy on the outside, with the cinnamon in the dough and the granulated sugar on the outside conspiring to make your tongue tingle.
And inside? So chewy they are almost gooey. Almost like candy.
Rich, sweet, a little old-fashioned, and so very comforting.
Come on fall.