Friday, May 21, 2010

Molasses raisin cookies

According to my mom, this was one of the recipes my great-great-grandmother brought with her from Germany when she came to America.

Originally the recipe called for lard, but that's a little too hardcore for me so I use butter or vegetable oil. You can make drop cookies or bar cookies with no alteration to the recipe; I prefer bar cookies myself because they're easier to make. The molasses, nutmeg, and cinnamon flavors remind me a little of the holidays, but the cookies are delicious all year long!

1 cup sugar
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup dark molasses
½ tsp nutmeg
1 egg
½ cup milk
½ cup shortening, butter, or vegetable oil
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix sugar, shortening, and egg. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Add molasses, milk, and raisins and beat until batter is completely smooth.

Bake 10-15 minutes on greased cookie sheet, or pour batter into pan for bar cookies.

Here's one of my bar cookies (I added the powdered sugar heart for fun).
 Molasses isn't used much in modern recipes, but it was once the most popular sweetener in America because it was less expensive than refined sugar. It has more vitamins and minerals than refined sugar, which is why blackstrap molasses in particular is considered a health food.

On a more tragic (or hilarious?) note, in 1919, a 50 foot-high tank of molasses burst, flooding the streets of Boston in a disaster called the Great Boston Molasses Tragedy. The tank could hold almost 2.5 million gallons, so it's no surprise that the deluge of sweetener managed to topple buildings and even derail a train. It is sometimes humorously referred to as "The Boston Molassacre."

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