Where the Cookie Meets the Tea Towel

Jennifer was a few years older and worldlier than my tender age of 12, but there was some kind of powerful lure that had me walking to Jennifer’s house every day that summer. Jennifer, her mom and the other sister baked. It didn’t matter if it was 90 degrees outside with no central air conditioning, that oven went on in the morning and produced chewy gooey cookies and shortcakes.

I was fascinated with the hundreds of oven-fresh cookies lined up on tea towels. I visited, I ate, and I collected recipes and duplicated them at home – all summer long. Whoopie pies, Ranger Joe cookies, chocolate chip, snickerdoodles, gingersnaps, and so forth and so on.

This summer, I’ve been baking cookies just like I remembered. I line them up on tea towels, just like Jennifer’s mom did, and our son and his friends grab and go. I hope the summer cookie experience goes into their “great-memories-of summer-growing-up” memory bank. Even if they don’t, they’re enjoying the regular treats. For me, it’s all about the memories.

Molasses Cookies
These soft, chewy cookies are from the Silver Palate Cookbook. Don’t expect them to be crisp, they are not gingersnaps. I took them to another level by sandwiching them with vanilla ice cream.

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1-1/2 sticks), melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter, add sugar and molasses and mix thoroughly. Lightly beat the egg and add to butter mixture; blend well.

Sift flour with spices, salt and baking soda, and add to the first mixture. Batter will be wet.
Lay a sheet of foil on a cookie sheet. Drop tablespoons of cookie batter on foil, leaved three inches between the cookies. These will spread during baking.

Bake until cookies start to darken, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely on foil. Carefully peel off the foil.

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