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For the love of molasses

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This week I am going to begin by sharing with you a recipe I requested. Recently while visiting, by telephone, with my granddaughter Heather, who lives in Springfield, she said she was making molasses cookies — my very favorite cookies — so I asked for the recipe.

She not only sent that recipe she sent a bonus; not food, but I will share it with you, also.

I made the cookies and they were just as good as I remembered. I love anything "molasses"; even just pouring them in a plate, add butter and fully combine until creamy, then "sop" them up with hot biscuits. My love of molasses goes all the way back to preschool when my family owned a molasses mill; the only one in our area. People would drive for miles with loads of cane to have molasses made.

The press was "powdered" by a big, big old horse. His harness was attached to a pole that was attached to the press so he could only walk in a circle and turn the presses. This he did for hours at a time and for many of those hours I was on his back. He was so broad of back I could safely take a nap. When that happened my dad would lay me off on a pallet to finish my nap. What great memories.

I would love to hear from anyone who has memories of those old mills. Just call for a visit; my number is at the bottom of my column. Now for cookies: Be sure you buy sorghum molasses; NOT molasses syrup. Thanks, Heather.

MOLASSES DROP COOKIES

From Heather Swearengin

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup shortening*

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup molasses

Sift or stir together the first 6 dry ingredients; set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

With electric mixer, cream the remaining ingredients; add dry ingredients and mix well. Make batter into 1-inch balls; roll in granulated sugar and place on a baking sheet. Place them 2-inches apart; bake 8 minutes.

Let cool a minute before removing to wire rack.

*I used real butter. But I also made the balls too large and placed them too close together so I ended up with one full-sheet cookie. But a pizza cutter allowed me to cut them into squares and they were delicious!

Who says all recipes have to be something edible!

The following is a great facial scrub. You can find all the ingredients at a reasonable price at Meadowbrook Health Foods.

WHIPPED PEPPERMINT SUGAR SCRUB

From Heather Swearengin

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided

5 or 6 drops peppermint essential oil

1 drop red food coloring

In small bowl of electric mixer combine coconut oil, 1/4 cup sugar and peppermint oil; beat until it becomes light and fluffy. In a cup add food coloring to remaining 1/4 cup sugar, stirring until well combined and a pretty pink. Fold pink sugar by hand into whipped mixture to thoroughly combine.

Now back to molasses; this time a cake. This recipe is a treasure. It was given to me in 1982 by the mother of a classmate, Joe Rex Farel.

Mrs. Edyth Farel was 89 years of age at the time. I have baked this cake many times. I bake it in a 10-inch cast iron skillet and have found the only way to be sure it will turn out onto the rack to cool is to spray the skillet with Pam for Baking.

Don't ruin it with icing. Just dust it with powdered sugar while warm if desired. It really does't need anything, it is delicious “as is.” It was a popular dessert at my restaurant in the ’80s.

SOFT MOLASSES CAKE

From the late Mrs. Edyth Farel

1 cup molasses

1/2 cup real butter or lard, room temperature

1 egg

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of salt

2 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in 1 cup of hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; thoroughly spray 10-inch cast iron skillet with Pam for Baking. Combine all ingredients in a bowl of electric mixer and beat on medium until well combined.

Pour into prepared skillet; bake 35 minutes or until tests done with toothpick. Allow to remain in the skillet for a minute or two then turn out onto wire rack to cool.

If you’d like to share a good recipe with You’vah, you can write her at 320 S. Harlin, West Plains, MO 65775 or via email at yschafer@yahoo.com. Although she does not take recipes over the phone, she invites your questions at 293-5333.

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