A neighbor captured this scene on eight-millimeter film in the 1960s. A few kids are circled round a wooden ice cream bucket on a summer day. We take turns cranking the handle, the bigger kids helping the littler ones as the ice cream thickens. As the film rolls in my memory’s eye, our laughs and jostling occur in jerky slow-motion. A grown-up removes the creamy-pink paddle. Pudgy fingers reach toward it for the first tastes.
How things change! How things stay the same!
Last year a friend persuaded me to purchase an electric ice cream maker. “You’ll use it all the time,” she promised. She was right: I keep the bowl in the freezer so unusual flavors of homemade ice cream are no more than an hour away, no ice, no rock salt, no mess.
Pair up Molasses Cookies with MOLASSES ICE CREAM. For one quart, mix 3 ounces cream cheese, ½ cup brown sugar and 1/3 cup mild molasses in a blender until smooth. With the motor running, add 2 cups half-and-half. Transfer to an ice cream freezer and process as directed.
Chill: At least 2 hours
Shape and bake: 45 minutes
Makes 5 dozen small cookies
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- About 2 tablespoons additional sugar for rolling
Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add molasses and egg and combine well. Stir together remaining ingredients in a separate bowl, then combine well with butter mixture. Gather dough into a round, cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to bake, at least 2 hours or overnight. Between your hands, roll into 1-inch balls, then roll in sugar. Place on baking sheet, about 20 cookies per sheet. Flatten each cookie slightly with bottom of a glass. Bake at 375F for 8 – 11 minutes, the shorter time for soft cookies, the longer for crispy. Cool on a rack or on paper towels.
Chilling the dough makes it easier to shape the balls. If you skip this step (I do, occasionally) the cookies will really spread; just arrange them well apart on the baking sheet.
These molasses cookies are real crowd pleasers. They ship and travel well, too.
More Recipes for Old-Fashioned Classic Cookies
If there's ever a reason to get an ice cream maker, it's this recipe for molasses ice cream. Both at once, it's unusual and completely familiar. If you like the flavor of molasses, you'll love the rich creaminess of molasses ice cream. Yummy ... (And if you don't? Well, other unusual ice creams are just a churn away using this recipe for Chameleon Ice Cream).
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This column was published in print in 2003 and published online for the first time in 2008.
© Copyright 2003 Kitchen Parade