Food has an uncanny way of bringing us back to specific moments in life. Back to specific people. I can never eat a Werther’s candy without stepping back into my papa’s den. Memories of flitting around my grandparents’ house flood my mind. Its been well over fifteen years since I curled up on the couch with my papa, giddily searching the candy jar-filled shelves for the perfect piece. Yet the moment I hear the crinkle of a Werther’s wrapper and taste the buttery caramel, I am reminded of those sweet times we shared together.
For my husband, these molasses cookies evoke similar remembrance. During the cool, crisp autumn months of childhood, Dan eagerly unwrapped packages from his nana filled with soft, chewy molasses cookies alongside heartfelt letters. Amidst the warmth of family gatherings, listening to Gramps recount stories of his days in the military, Dan sat captivated, devouring his grandpa’s stories and his nana’s melt-in-your-mouth molasses cookies.
This weekend, as we laid Dan’s grandfather to rest alongside his wife, these cookies served as a sweet comfort and reminder of many warm memories shared. Memories that will never be forgotten. Memories of people who were so dearly loved.
To know Dan’s grandfather in the last couple years of his life was a true joy–I am lucky to have had the opportunity. While I never had the pleasure of meeting Nana, it is an honor to celebrate her memory through her recipes. It is extraordinary–the ways you can know a person through the food they cook. For that, I am grateful.
These cookies will continue on in the Robinson clan, as we celebrate those we have loved and share in many more memories around them. Here’s to you and yours! May you enjoy them as well.
Nana’s Soft Molasses Cookies
¾ cup butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ tsp salt
In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, and salt. Set aside.
Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, mix the butter and brown sugar until creamy. Add egg; mixing just until combined. Add molasses until fully incorporated.
Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture one third at a time—fully incorporating after each addition.
After combined, cover cookie dough and chill overnight (12 – 24 hours) until workable.
Preheat oven to 350ºf. Form dough into one inch balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake 12 minutes. Serve with milk or cider.