Recipe status: stable
Calling this recipe "stable" doesn't quite do it justice; it's been stable for the better part of a century;
this is a true old timey recipe. The use of baking soda and vinegar, instead of baking powder, is a testament to that fact.
I was given to my mother by the mother of a friend of hers. It certainly dates from before WWII, possibly earlier.
I thought about trying the recipe with modern double-acting baking powder, but decided against. That's not the cookie I remember helping my mother make and it just wouldn't be right.
This is a large recipe. You might try halving it if you're not sure you're going to like them. On the other hand, they do freeze well.
Makes about 120 cookies.
- 1 C sugar
- 1 C vegetable shortening
- 1 C fancy molasses
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 4 C all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs, beaten slightly
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Combine the sugar, shortening and molasses in a saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring regularly, until the mixture is combined and the shortening melted. Remove from heat.
- Add the baking soda and vinegar and stir. Add two cups of flour, the eggs and salt. Stir to combine. Add the rest of the flour and stir to combine.
- Put the dough in the refrigerator until chilled (an hour or two).
- Take part of the dough and roll it out on a well floured surface to about 1/8 inch. The dough will stick--don't be afraid to use a lot of flour to keep it from doing so. I use at least another cup of flour while rolling.
- Cut out shapes using your favourite cookie cutter (or cut squares with a knife if you don't have a cutter).
- Lay out the cookies on a cookie sheet (preferably light-coloured) and bake at 350°F for about 10 minutes. These will burn easily, so keep an eye on them.
- When cooked, free the cookies with a metal spatula and let cool on a rack. Store in an airtight container.