I found this recipe in an Amish cookbook that I inherited from my great-aunt Jean a few years ago. The little cookbook was published in the mid 1950s and contains some amazingly delicious recipes (like these cookies) and some recipes that give me nightmares (Rabbit Kidney Stew!). Old cookbooks are often like that though, filled with sweet samplings reminiscent of grandmother's kitchen and peppered with the horrors of a VERY different time and culture. I love visiting second hand book stores and flipping through those old recipe troves. You never know what unexpected treasure might find it's way to your hands. Dishes that have been published, handed down and cooked by generations of women all with one common purpose, to nourish their family with something they can look forward to.
These molasses cookies must have been a special treat for children at one time. I always try to remember that when I bake them, and even though I can have these cookies or others any time I want, somehow these still seem special because of that.
I updated this particular recipe a little bit to work in modern kitchens and made them a tad bit sweeter to appeal to modern tastes. Take note that the dough will be softer than you would expect so no need to panic over it.
4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons allspice
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup sugar
Stir together flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, allspice and cinnamon. In another bowl beat together butter and 2 cups sugar until fluffy. Add molasses and eggs and beat until well combined. Gradually add in flour mixture, continuously beating.
Form dough into balls and roll in remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Arrange on lightly greased cookie sheets about 4 inches apart and flatten slightly with bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. Bake cookies in batches at 325 degrees for 13-15 minutes, or until lightly puffed and golden. (Cookies should be soft).