Feeling Festive & My Molasses Cookie Recipe

Sunday, December 23, 2018
Waking up on Christmas morning, all warm and cozy under a heavy winter duvet, my own subconscious rather than the usual alarm prodding me to stir, telling me there's something special about today I need to wake up for is one of those feelings I wish I could bottle up and dip into at my leisure throughout the rest of the year. It's a potent little mixture of youthful anticipation, familial love and togetherness, and the serene sense of this being a day meant for simply being, not the usual monotonous hum of responsibilities and routines. But sadly Christmas is only one day.

Maybe we can't sit in that Christmas morning moment forever, but we can certainly anticipate it, celebrate it and attempt to conjure up some of the same feelings in the days leading up to it! In my house, we start counting down to Christmas the second Thanksgiving is over. Cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies are on almost every night, and Christmas songs play on the stereo as we're cooking and are whistled and hummed as we go about our days. We decorate a huge old Christmas tree with ornaments passed down to me from my parents, hang stockings on the mantle and a wreath in the entryway. Our house greets us every night as we come home from work with cheery, warm lines of lights around the roof and twirls of lights around the porch columns that remind me of candy cane stripes. We eat our way through heaps of John's mom's Christmas treats -- the same kinds each year, which gives us that nice sense of familiarity and comfort. Just in case we were short on sugary foods, my family spends an afternoon baking all our favorite Christmas cookies so we have plenty to swap and take home to enjoy throughout the month. And this year we close every day reading a little message from the personal advent calendar I made. All these things we spread throughout the month do wonders for elongating those fleeting magical hours of Christmas morning.

In case you're in need of your own festive feelings, here's my favorite holiday cookie recipe. I hope it brings you a little joy!

My mom's recipe card, copied from her mom's recipe card.
Molasses Cookies
Approx. 3 dozen

3/4 c shortening
1 c brown sugar
1 egg or egg substitute
1/4 c dark molasses
2 1/4 c flour, sifted
1/2 t salt
2 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 t ginger
1/2 t ground cloves
white sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cream together shortening and brown sugar.
3. Add egg and molasses and beat.
4. Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a mixing bowl.
5. Gradually add dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
6. Chill dough in refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
7. Roll dough into 1" balls and then roll each ball in white sugar to coat. Place on greased cookie sheets.
8. Bake for 12-15 minutes, let cool and enjoy!
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