Mama's Molasses Cookies
Sift together and set aside:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose Flour
2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp ground Cloves
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
1 tsp ground Ginger
In a mixer, cream together until thoroughly combined:
1/2 cup all-vegetable Shortening
1/4 cup softened Butter (not margarine)
1 cup firmly packed light Brown Sugar
1 large Egg
1/4 cup Molasses (I use Grandma's Molasses – unsulfured)
To creamed mixture, add dry ingredients and beat on low speed of mixer until combined.
Chill dough in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Remove from fridge and roll dough into walnut/ping pong size balls. Roll cookie balls in granulated sugar and place on cookie sheet at least 2 inches apart. I usually just bake a dozen on each sheet. Depending on the size you roll the dough balls, it should make 3 to 4 dozen cookies.
Bake in a 350° oven for 9 to 10 minutes, just until set, but not hard. The tops will puff up while baking, but will deflate while cooling. They will firm up and look crackled on top. Let them cool for about 5 minutes or so on the cookie sheet before removing to cooling racks.
Crunchy Vanilla Clusters
In a skillet, melt 2 1/2 tablespoons Butter on low heat.
Gently crush 1 package of Ramen Noodles, discarding the flavor packet (or use in something else later). Add Noodles to the skillet.
Add 3/4 cup Pecan pieces (chopped, but not pulverized!).
Add 1/2 cup sliced Almonds. You can also use slivered almonds in this.
Sauté mixture on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, stirring often, but carefully to avoid extra crushing of the noodles.
Pour mixture into a large bowl and allow to cool completely. It takes about an hour.
Melt 1 bag of White Chocolate Chips/Morsels in the microwave according to package directions. Pour melted chocolate over cooled mixture and gently combine/stir until thoroughly coated.
Working a little quickly, and using a spoon (pull one from the flatware drawer), scoop up and drop mixture onto a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper and let harden. *I use 2 spoons – one to scoop up mixture and one to push it out of the scooper-upper one.* It takes about 45 minutes or so for the clusters to harden.
Store at room temperature in a tightly covered container or wrap in cute little packages and give to your family and friends for a Christmas treat!
Enjoy! Merry Christmas from our Kitchen to yours!