Easy holiday baking: molasses cookies

by Elizabeth Rose

These cookies get better with age ... if they last long enough. My mother grew up in Milwaukee and every year since 1928, Wisconsin Electric has distributed a cookbook full of recipes that customers have submitted over the year. Her collection of cookbooks now includes those from her mother, including one from the 60s that deteriorates a little more each year as we whip it out for the annual baking frenzy.

One of the family favorites is molasses cookies, and the recipe makes a few dozen with minimal effort. However, a large mixer is required - the batter becomes so thick that a regular hand mixer won't cut it. The ginger, cinnamon, cloves and molasses meld together for a more complex flavor every day, and they're perfect for parties or as small holiday gifts.

Soft molasses cookies
Makes four dozen cookies
1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
1/2 C shortening
1 1/2 C sugar, plus sugar for garnish
1/2 C dark molasses
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 C flour
1/2 t salt
2 1/4 t baking soda
2 1/4 t ground ginger
1 1/2 t ground cloves
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and shortening until well mixed for 1-2 minutes. Add sugar and beat until light-colored and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in molasses and eggs until smooth; set aside.
3. In another large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cloves and cinnamon. Gradually mix these dry ingredients into creamed mixture until dough is blended and smooth.
4. Roll dough in to 1 1/2-inch balls. Dip tops in granulated sugar. Place 2 1/2 inches apart on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for about 11 minutes.
5. Remove from sheets to wire rack to cool completely.

Find other Wisconsin Electric cookie recipes here. Some of the earlier editions of the cookbooks are missing, so the online collection isn't quite complete.