For a long time I thought that vegetable shortening was a no-go. It had no place in the house I grew up in, and though we were eating vegetarian, organic and non-processed for most of my childhood, and we made a bizarre transition from butter to margarine for a little while (much to my dismay) and then somebody smartened up and we went back to that safe place where we had butter all the time. The first time I thought it would be ok to buy crisco, or veg shortening was when I got a cookbook from my sisters, Pioneer Woman – she uses it often. I have used it in the pie crust recipe I got from her cookbook. I’m still not super comfortable using it, and especially thought it odd to put it in cookies. Really odd.
It seemed a little more ok once I started mixing it together. It looked a little more like a cookie mixture. I was also petrified that heading into cookie season (aka cooler weather) that I had totally lost my edge, seeing as my chocolate chip cookies were a sloppy mess last week. I needed to make sure that I still had it, because I would like to make pretty cookies and breads as gifts for christmas this year, and buy nice tins, ecc. So I suspended my belief that butter should be in EVERY cookie, and carried on.
Spicy Molasses Cookies
adapted from Pioneer Woman
- 1 cup Sugar
- 3/4 c vegetable shortening
- 1/4 c molasses
- 1 whole egg
- 2 c all purpose flour
- 2-1/2 tspns baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
(I used fresh ginger grated into the smallest bits I could, and I added just a sprinkle of dried, ground ginger to boot)
- 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cardamom
- a sprinkle of nutmeg and allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- extra sugar to roll cookies in after mixing
Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix shortening, sugar, egg and molasses in your stand mixer.
Add dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
Cookie dough should be dry enough to to roll by hand into walnut sized balls.
Roll on a plate covered in a few tablespoons of white sugar to coat.
Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until they have just started to crack, then a minute longer.
I used the last pieces of parchment paper I had to bake these, but it turns out that these are so full of shortening that they don’t stick to ANYTHING. How do I know this? I’m not totally sure what size a walnut is anymore, seriously! I have stayed so far away from tree nuts for years because I am allergic to them, that I really had to think about what size it would be, and some of them had to be directly on the pan instead of the paper. They all slid right off.
Cool them for a little while on racks, and or… eat them right away. They are nice and chewy. I have regained my faith in my ability to make cookies. Phew! That seemed like it might be a close call…