Sue Asp’s (Grandmother’s) Date-Filled Cookies: A Holiday Heritage Contest Recipe

The entry phase of our Holiday Heritage Recipe Contest has come to a close, and it’s time to start narrowing down the selections. Tony and I will be spending the next 48 hours +/- reading through each contestant’s entry and story to choose our favorites and with almost 40 recipes entered we know that we have our work cut out for ourselves.

Add to that the hectic pace of the holiday season, especially in the restaurant world, and some days it’s a challenge just to remember my name. We received several new entries in the days/hours leading up to the deadline, and we will get those recipes and stories posted by the end of Saturday, at the latest. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate our way through the fluid waters of blogging and all that goes with it.

In the meantime, we will continue to feature recipes from our contestants here on the blog, and today the Contest Spotlight is shining on Sue Asp of Fergus Falls, Minnesota, and her Grandmother’s recipe for Date-Filled Cookies.

Sue has a long-standing holiday tradition of baking with her sisters and her mother each season. While they bake a great variety of goodies each year, these date-filled cookies remain a constant family favorite, and Sue gives credit for this to an unusual source. You’ll have to read on to find out what that is but, as a baker who cherishes a good old-fashioned recipe, I totally get it, and hope you do too.

Thank you for sharing your special recipe and story with us, Sue, and GOOD LUCK!

Sue Asp’s (Grandmother’s) Date-Filled Cookies

The original recipe for these date-filled cookies must be at least 75 years old. The yellowed newspaper clipping, carefully taped to a 3×5 card, belonged to my grandma, Mathilda Alsop. There are notes, too, scrawled on the card beside the newsprint. Some in Grandma’s writing (12 min. @ 350=GOOD!), others in my mother’s (Use Betty Crocker Filling!). Grandma rolled the dough and chopped the dates by hand each Christmas until she was well in to her 80s, then passed the card and the tradition on to her daughter-in-law.

This year, my mother, who is approaching 90, will gather her three daughters for our 26th annual mother-daughter Christmas cookie bake. Grandma worked alone, but after more than two decades, we four have settled into a routine: Mom mixes the dough, I make the filling, Marilyn crimps each edge (she’s good with the putzy stuff), and Karen takes the cookies out of the oven when they’re perfectly golden brown.

We mix up a dozen varieties each year—from spritz to peanut butter blossoms—but the date-filleds have stood the test of time. Sure, they’re delicious, but I think the true draw lies in that old, yellowed card.


For the Dough:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter (may use margarine)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup soured cream*
1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in the cream
1/2 teaspoon baking powder sifted into 2 1/2 cups white flour
2 1/2 cups ground oatmeal

*Sour cream by adding 1 Tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup cream

For Date Filling:
3 cups cut up dates
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened (about 10 minutes). Cool.

Cream sugar and butter together with an electric mixer and add eggs. Combine flour mixture and oatmeal. Add dry ingredients and soured cream mixture alternately to creamed mixture. Mix to form dough.

Roll out cookie dough on a floured surface to 1/8 inch thick. Cut dough into circles with a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter. Place about 1 teaspoon of date filling onto dough and fold dough in half to cover the filling. Press the edges of the dough together with a fork to seal and prick the top with a fork to allow steam to escape.

Bake on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet for 12 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool completely.

Submitted by Sue Asp of Fergus Falls, MN

Elsa’s Spritz Cookies: A Holiday Heritage Recipe from 12-Year-Old Astrid Axtman

Twelve-year-old Astrid Axtman of Fargo, ND is sitting in the Contest Spotlight today, with her Great-Grandma’s recipe for Christmas Spritz Cookies. Astrid shares her recipe, story and photo with us, and now Giovanni is insisting that we buy a cookie press so we can try out Astrid’s (Grandma’s) recipe!

We loved reading about Astrid’s Swedish Great-Grandmother Elsa, and her creative method for learning English. Between all that sugar and comic books, Elsa must have been one fun and interesting woman to know – and we’re betting she was a pretty good baker, too. This tradition has been in Astrid’s family for at least four generations, and we know that Astrid will make sure Elsa’s spritz cookies are a Christmas favorite for generations to come.

Thank you for sharing your special recipe with us, Astrid, and GOOD LUCK!

If you have a special holiday recipe that has passed from one generation to another, we would love to have you share it with us!

Please send your recipe, along with a short story about its heritage to us via email to Photos are highly encouraged, but not required. Top Prize is a brand-new Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer!

CLICK HERE to view the RECIPE ENTRIES for our Holiday Heritage Contest.

My Great Grandma Elsa immigrated to the United States (from Sweden) in 1920.   She taught herself English by reading the back of sugar sacks and comic books.  I’m fortunate that one ten pound sack of sugar has made an impact on the following generations. With that sack of sugar, my Great Grandma Elsa started a tradition of making spritz cookies, dying wreathed shaped cookies green, and garnishing them with red icing, or sometimes even sugar dyed red!

My Grandma Elvie remembers how these cookies were a staple around the holidays. As my grandmother shares, this was passed down and by the time she started making them, sprinkles had become popular thus the icing was replaced. My mother says they go back as far as she can remember; sometimes her mother would even shape them as trees.

Grandma continues to make them for us grandchildren, and that’s where I come into the picture. Even though I’m only 12, I have enjoyed learning family baking from my Grandmother. I would really enjoy making many batches of cookies with the KitchenAid® mixer and passing on this tradition!

Astrid Axtman’s (Great-Grandma Elsa’s) Spritz Cookie Recipe

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups sifted flour (all-purpose)
green food coloring
red sprinkles

In a stand mixer or large bowl; cream butter. Gradually add sugar; cream well. Add egg, salt, almond extract, and vanilla. Beat. Gradually add food coloring until it turns a nice green color. Blend in flour. Once it forms a dough put the dough through a cookie press.

Bake to a delicate brown at 400 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes. Makes 6 to 7 dozen.

Submitted by Astrid Axtman (age 12) of Fargo, ND


Here Baker, Baker, Baker…

There are just THREE DAYS LEFT before the entry period of our Holiday Heritage Recipe Contest closes, and we would LOVE to include your favorite generational sweet treat recipe in the mix. Take a look at the list of recipe entries below to see how you can help us round out the goodie platter!

We are looking for any and all recipes for holiday goodies, but they must have been passed from one generation to another. We don’t care whether that’s through family or friend, up or down the generations, cookie, bar, cake or pie…as long as it’s sweet and generational.

To enter, send us your favorite holiday sweets recipe, along with a short story about its heritage or tradition, and a photo, if available, by 11:59 PM on Wednesday, December 11, 2013, and you could win this brand-new Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer! Send your entry via email to:

For more complete Contest Entry Guidelines,


  1. Brenda Gorseth’s (Grandmother’s) Molasses Cookies
  2. Jennie Weber’s (Great Uncle Eddie’s) Icelandic Pancakes (Pönnukökur)
  3. Lily Erlic’s (Mother-in-Law’s) Croatian Ustipke
  4. Judy A. Colosimo’s (Grandmother’s) Poor Man’s Cake
  5. Jocelyn Sloan’s Molasses Cookies Bars (inspired by two grandmothers’ recipes)
  6. Marlene Nielsen’s Bavarian Creme
  7. Cara Cody Braun’s (Grammy Muggli’s) Apricot Torte
  8. Suzanne LaPalm’s (Family’s) Belgian Lukken 
  9. Nancy Vargas’s (Mother’s) Apple Slices Pie
  10. Morgan Davy’s (Grandma’s) Soft Molasses Cookies
  11. Beverly Grimm’s Family Sandbukkels
  12. Donna Kelly’s (Family’s) Joy to the World Balls
  13. Rebecca Grothe’s (Mom’s) Sour Cream Twists
  14. Donna-Marie Ryan’s Heritage Yule Log
  15. Juliana Palmcook’s (Grandma’s) Polish Kruschiki (Angel Wings)
  16. Pamela Miller’s (Family’s) Texas Sheet Cake
  17. Sue Asp’s (Grandmother’s) Date-Filled Cookies
  18. Becky Aarestad’s (Mother-in-Law’s) Black Raspberry Turnovers
  19. Charity Slepcevic’s (Grandmother’s) Raspberry Cheesecake Crumble
  20. Anthony Analetto’s (Mother’s) Baklava
  21. Lorraine Fina Stevenski’s (Family’s) Italian Fig Cookies “Cucidati”
  22. Julie Orr’s (Emma’s) Fruitcake Cookies
  23. Esther Nordhougen’s (Mother-in-Law’s) Brown Buns
  24. Astrid Axtman’s (Grandma’s) Spritz Cookies
  25. Stephanie Rieff’s (Great-Grandma Meschke’s) Sugar Kuchen
  26. Marisa Raponi’s Triple Chocolate Cheesecake with Burnt Caramel
  27. Mary Marlowe Leverette’s (Mother’s) Gingerbread Pear Skillet Cake
  28. Susan Hanson’s (Mother’s) Old-Fashioned Soft Sugar Cookies
  29. Ronna Farley’s “Gingerman Boys” Cookies
  30. Liselotte Mas de Puy’s (Oldemor’s) Danish Kager

Holiday Heritage Contest Recipe: Donna Kelly’s (Family’s) Joy to the World Balls

Many of our readers have asked us to extend the entry deadline in our Holiday Heritage Recipe Conthelostitaliantest as the late Thanksgiving this year has set back the holiday baking schedule.

In the spirit of Christmas, we are extending our entry deadline to give you one more week to get your baking done and send us your recipes, stories and photos.

We will now accept contest submissions until 11:59 PM on Wednesday, December 11, 2013. We hope that this added time helps you complete your entry, and we look forward to reading your recipes and stories. Many thanks to all of you who have already sent us your entries – your stories are so wonderfully personal and touching, and full of holiday spirit.

Today we’re shining our Contest Spotlight on Donna Kelly of Provo, Utah, and her family’s recipe for Joy to the World Balls.

We’ll begin by saying that, as chocolate-lovers, Donna has all three of us already salivating at her picture of these decadent-looking Christmas candies. Nestled in cozily by the Christmas tree, who could resist taking one of these perfectly-shaped, glossy goodies?

We love that they can be made several weeks in advance and tucked away in the fridge until ready to serve. For that reason alone they may just make it to our Christmas Eve celebration, but then Donna goes on to tell us that they taste a little like an Almond Joy candy bar (one of Gio’s favorites). I think I’d better go buy some coconut oil, as I have everything else required already in our pantry…

Donna is clearly aware of the power of having a traditional holiday treat, as these special goodies fill us not only with sweetness, but also the warmth of wonderful memories, even from a distance.

Thank you for sharing your family’s special recipe with us, Donna, and GOOD LUCK!

If you have a special holiday recipe that has passed from one generation to another, we would love to have you share it with us!

Please send your recipe, along with a short story about its heritage to us via email to Photos are highly encouraged, but not required. Top Prize is a brand-new Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer!

CLICK HERE to view the RECIPE ENTRIES for our Holiday Heritage Contest.


There are foods that bring a remembrance of Christmases past. Our “Joy to the World” Christmas candies do that for us.

My mom’s family created this recipe and now my children make these candies, a four generation tradition. If a child of mine is not with us for Christmas, I package them up and send them off and I picture my child opening the box, inhaling the sweet coconutty smell and then biting into a candy, flooding their taste buds with memories of their childhood. Kelly Family Christmas in a bite.

I added my own twist and changed the diced pecans to diced toasted, lightly salted almonds. We loved the change, and my son Jake renamed the candies “Joy to the World” balls, since they now have a little of the flavor of Almond Joy candy bars!

And another tweak added by my generation: I switched up the butter to coconut oil, so now these are *** Healthified*** Christmas Candy. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. Christmas candy with healthy fat.


12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon shortening
8 ounces sweetened coconut
2 pounds powdered sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
2 cups diced toasted, lightly salted almonds
1 tablespoon vanilla

In a large bowl with a large sturdy spoon, stir together coconut, powdered sugar, coconut oil, condensed milk, almonds and vanilla. The mixture will be very thick! Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (I once left this in my fridge for a week and it was just fine).

Remove coconut mixture from fridge and roll into balls about the size of a walnut.
In a double boiler, melt shortening over simmering water. Slowly stir in chocolate chips and keep over very low heat.

Using a sturdy toothpick, dip coconut balls into melted chocolate and set on a sheet of wax paper to cool. Dip tops of candies in chocolate to cover the toothpick hole. Refrigerate candies until ready to use – will keep up to one month.

How To Make Perfect Whipped Potatoes – Every Time

Very few foods say comfort like real Whipped Potatoes do; in fact, they ooze comfort. Out of all the wonderful dishes we’ve served at Sarello’s over the past thirteen years, our whipped potatoes have remained a staple on our menu, and a favorite among our guests. Our whipped potatoes are so consistently good that, for many years, a certain well-known potato farmer has enjoyed joking with Tony that they must be made from instant potatoes.

Whipped (or mashed) potatoes are a common dish on many holiday tables, and each year at this time we receive an influx of requests for our recipe. With only four ingredients, there’s nothing complicated or unusual about our recipe, but a few extra steps along the way will ensure an excellent outcome, every time. This is what Tony calls “adding the love.”

We use Idaho (Russet) potatoes at the restaurant, which are usually large, up to one pound each, with brown skin and white flesh. They have a high starch content and are low in moisture, which makes them ideal for mashing or baking. The drier texture of the Idaho potatoes when cooked will result in fluffier whipped potatoes.

Once the potatoes are cooked, we come to another important step. After draining the potatoes, we return them to the stock pot and continue to cook them over medium-high heat for about ten minutes to cook off the excess moisture. This ensures that the potatoes are as dry as possible so that they will fully absorb the cream and butter.

If you’ve ever made whipped potatoes, you’re already aware that heavy cream and butter are key components in this dish. We hate to say it, but for really flavorful, fluffy potatoes, the more cream and butter in the dish, the better. For this recipe, be sure to use unsalted butter and real cream, not milk or half and half.

We always warm up the cream and butter before adding them to the cooked potatoes, so as not to shock the potatoes. First, mix the butter, cream and salt together in a small pot over medium-low heat, until all the butter has melted and the ingredients are fully incorporated. Next, add this mixture to the potatoes, in stages, as they are being whipped.

Once the potatoes are ready, use a mixer with the whip attachment, which works better to incorporate air into the potatoes so that they are fluffy, light, and smooth – and ready to melt in your mouth.

To make whipped sweet potatoes, follow the same recipe but add a half-cup of light brown sugar and one tablespoon of ground cinnamon when melting the butter and cream mixture.

A good rule when planning your menu is to allow about one half-pound of potatoes per person. I’d take that one step further and add two or three more potatoes to account for leftovers. I have fond memories of my mother making potato croquettes for breakfast from our leftover whipped potatoes.

The cold potatoes can be formed into balls or patties, then dredged in an egg-wash followed by plain or panko breadcrumbs, and fried over medium-high heat until golden brown and completely heated through. The oil in your pan should come up to about half the height of the croquettes.

If you’re looking for more recipes, turkey tips and ideas, we invite you to check out our THANKSGIVING 101 section and feel free to contact us with any questions.

Sarello’s Classic Whipped Potatoes

Serves: 10 to 12

6 Idaho potatoes, peeled ( approximately 5 to 6 pounds, or a ½-pound per person)
1 stick butter, unsalted
2 ½ cups heavy cream (whipping cream 35%)
2 tablespoons kosher salt

Fill a large stock pot with plenty of water and boil the peeled potatoes over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 60 minutes. Use a set of tongs to check for doneness by squeezing a few of the potatoes, which should break apart when done.

Strain the potatoes over the sink, and return them to the stock pot. Continue to cook over medium-high heat for ten minutes, stirring occasionally with a spoon. This will remove any excess moisture.

Transfer the potatoes to a mixing bowl and use the whip attachment or beaters, on a medium-high setting, to whip the potatoes. As this occurs, heat the cream, butter and salt in a sauce pan over medium heat, until the butter is melted, about five to seven minutes, stirring constantly.

Reduce mixer to low speed and slowly add the warm cream and butter mixture to the potatoes in several stages, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula after each addition. Once all the liquid is added, turn mixer to high and whip for 2 to 4 minutes until smooth and fluffy. Check for seasoning and adjust to taste.

To store: Cover with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to three days.

Tony’s Tips:

  • To make whipped sweet potatoes, follow the above recipe but add a half cup of light brown sugar and one tablespoon of ground cinnamon when melting the butter.
  • To ensure leftovers, add 2 to 3 potatoes to this recipe.
  • For smaller groups, simply halve the recipe.
  • To make potato croquettes from leftover whipped potatoes, simply form them into balls or patties, dredge in egg-wash then plain or panko breadcrumbs, and fry in oil over medium-high heat until golden brown and heated through. The oil in your pan should come up to about half the height of the croquettes.

Holiday Heritage Recipe Contest: Jennie Weber’s Icelandic Pancakes (Pönnukökur)

Today’s Featured Recipe in our Holiday Heritage Recipe Contest is Jennie Weber’s family recipe for Icelandic Pancakes, also known as Pönnukökur, or Pannukuker.

We love Jennie’s story – so often we relate to our ancestral heritage through food, which Jennie discovered by visiting her Great Uncle Eddie on Lake Winnipeg in Canada as a girl, a tradition she continued with her own children many years later. We love that circle – there is something so special in knowing that her children were introduced to this Icelandic specialty in just the same way Jennie was.

We also appreciate the generational use of this well-worn recipe, and how the next generation of her family is now continuing the tradition. The photo below features Jennie’s ten-year-old son, George, brushing the pönnukökur with melted butter over a cooling rack, which was a gift passed to Jennie from dear family friends.

This is what I love about baking – there are SO MANY good stories to share. *SIGH*…Now I want a cooling rack like this one, to go with the vintage Bromwell sifter I am coveting from Brenda Gorseth’s (Grandma’s) Molasses Cookies. 🙂

NOTE: I am trying to find a source for an Icelandic pancake pan, and will provide the link as soon as I do. 

Thank you for sharing your recipe with us, Jennie, and GOOD LUCK!

If you think you have a winning recipe and would like to win a brand-new Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer, then CLICK HERE for CONTEST ENTRY GUIDELINES.

Jennie Weber’s (Great Uncle Eddie’s) Icelandic Pancakes (Pannukuker)

When I was 7 my parents had me travel with my Grandma B. from Seattle to Moorhead, Minnesota. In our Icelandic culture you know all of your cousins, and if you meet an Icelander you just assume that they are a cousin.  

So on our way to Moorhead we visited our Icelandic cousins in Winnipeg and Gimili which is on Lake Winnipeg. We spent time with my Great Uncle Eddie. He was so cute. I remember him sitting with his tea cup filled to the brim with dark, rich, black coffee. He and my Grandma chatted and laughed.

I happily sat and listened to them while enjoying one of the Pannukuker that Eddie served along with the coffee. I had never had anything so wonderful. But the best part of that afternoon was being in the presence of these two sweet people.

Later, when I was a mother I took my two small kids to visit my Icelandic cousins in Gimili for August the Deuce – a celebration of Icelandic Heritage. Uncle Eddie was well into his 90s, but was still preparing Pannukuker. I had an opportunity to watch him, and believe me when I say it is all in the wrist.  The key is moving the batter in the pan to get the perfect Pannukuker. It was a gift to spend that time with him. 

Icelandic Pancakes are called Pannukuker. They are similar to a crepe, but not as chewy.  They are light brown and fairly thin. There is a great debate in my family on which is better – brown sugar or cinnamon and white sugar. I make both!

I only make these special sweet treats when I am visiting my mom’s cabin on Big Floyd outside of DL. I have a special pan that is flat and round. I use a long, thin, round spatula to carefully flip the Pannukuker over.

One of the best things I use is a beautiful cooling rack made by Rhonda (Ness) and Lin’s (Smithwick) dad. This makes it so easy to add the butter, sugar and then roll the Pannukuker. As you can see by this picture my kids are already learning to make this wonderful family tradition. 

2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups milk (Eddie adds 1/4 cup whipping cream)

Beat eggs, add sugar, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon. Sift the flour and baking powder together and add to the mixture. Beat well, gradually stirring in the milk.

Using a fairly heavy griddle pan (approximately 80 years old and used exclusively for pannukuker), rub bottom of griddle with butter tied in a small cloth.

Lift pan off fire (burner) while you pour 1/5 cup batter on griddle. Tip griddle around until entire bottom is covered. Set griddle back on stove as quickly as possible. Then, turn the pancake over and bake other side.

Remove from pan, sprinkle with sugar and roll up.

THANKSGIVING 101: Turkey Day Tips & Guidelines


Thanksgiving is a feast that requires attention to detail and advance planning in order to pull it off. we’ve created  Tony’s Top Ten Turkey Tips to help you get through Turkey Day with style. We’re also posting Turkey Thawing Guidelines, and Thanksgiving Wine Pairings, and below you can find a list of some of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes – and we will be adding more recipes to this list throughout the season, so be sure to stop by again.

Good Housekeeping also has a terrific chart called “How Much Do I Need?” to help you figure out serving sizes for various Thanksgiving dishes.

Before you get into the details, take a minute to let us know…How Do YOU Gobble?WHITE or DARK meat? Vote for your favorite in our poll located on the right side of the home page!

Helpful Thanksgiving Guides
Tony’s Top Ten Turkey Tips (T to the 5th!)

Tony’s Thanksgiving Wine Pairings
Tony’s Turkey Thawing Guidelines
Good Housekeeping’s Serving Size Chart

Baked Brie with Puff Pastry, Candied Pecans and Cranberry Sauce
Norwegian Meatballs
Cranberries Gone Wild Dip
Cranberry Focaccia Bread
Tony’s Marinated Olives
Homemade Crescent Rolls

Apple Butternut Soup
Cream of Chicken Soup
Cream of Parsnip Soup
Pumpkin Soup
Pumpkin Butternut Soup
Roasted Fennel Soup
Sweet Potato Soup with Andouille Sausage

Apple Spinach Salad
Honey Gorgonzola Hearts
Honey Poppy Seed Dressing
Winter Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

Butternut Chicken Scaloppine
Stuffed Turkey Breast with Pomegranate Butter Sauce
Turkey Crepes with Pistachio Pesto

Sarello’s Whipped Potatoes
Green Beans Nasello

Comforting Mac n’ Cheese
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shallots
Apple Cheddar Bread Pudding
Fall Vegetable Casserole
Roasted Red Peppers
Pomegranate Butter Sauce
Pistachio Pesto 

Sweet Potato Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce
Pumpkin Toffee Cheesecake
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie

Pumpkin Spice Macaroons
Real Whipped Cream

Apple Sausage Breakfast Ring
Homemade Bacon Pancakes
Easy Fresh Fruit Salad

DIY Gift Projects
Homemade Vanilla Extract
Homemade Limoncello
Peppermint Bark

Holiday Heritage Recipe: Brenda Gorseth’s (grandma’s) Molasses Cookies

Our Holiday Heritage Recipe Contest is off and running, and your recipes and stories are already flowing in! Throughout the contest period, from now until December 24th, we will be sharing some of the recipes and stories we receive, and today our contest spotlight is on Brenda Gorseth of Cathay, ND, and her grandmother’s recipe for Molasses Cookies.

We love the way Brenda brings us right into the memories of her grandmother, even down to Dusty, the dog. I love how she included her mother’s vintage sifter from 1960 in the picture, and now I want to find one just as cute!

Thank you for sharing your family’s recipe with us, Brenda, and GOOD LUCK!

If you think you have a winning recipe and would like to win a brand-new Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer, then CLICK HERE for CONTEST ENTRY GUIDELINES.

Brenda Gorseth’s Molasses Crinkles

Our Grandma Behrens could bake and cook with the best of them. Her house was always as neat as a pin and smelled of something good in the oven. She would come out to our farm every day during the 70s and 80s in the summer and help my mom; there were six of us and she taught us how to bake, garden, can, and work hard.

She would put her leftovers in a quart milk carton and freeze them for our dog-when she drove up, Dusty knew what was in that carton! She was the best example of a grandma and one day I hope to be like she was when my children have children.

Until then, she lives on in the way I bake by using her recipes for baked goods, especially her molasses cookies. She would make a large batch and freeze them only to have us sneak a cookie whenever we came over-which was a lot. She was our ‘town’ grandma and we stayed there anytime there was something happening after school.

She was loved and deeply missed when she passed away in ‘93. I have just retired from teaching and am in the process of opening a commercial kitchen; one of my signature recipes is her ‘Molasses Crinkles’.

Brenda Gorseth’s Molasses Cookies 

¾ cup shortening
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup molasses
(I have all these ingredients at room temperature, approximately four hours, before I mix them)
2 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon ginger

Cream shortening and sugar until fluffy; add egg and molasses and while they are mixing, sift flour and spices, turn mixer to low, and add to wet ingredients only until incorporated-don’t over mix. Chill for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into balls and using a glass bottom dipped in sugar, gently press only enough to flatten on a baking stone, dipping in sugar after every cookie. Sprinkle small drops of water on each cookie and bake for 12 minutes, depending on oven- the cookie should be starting to crack.

Let sit on stone for additional two minutes and then remove to cooling rack. I always use two stones and while one is baking, the other is in the freezer until it’s time so the cookies don’t spread on a warm sheet.

I also sift with my mother’s sifter; she received it as a wedding gift in 1960 and gave it to me as a reminder of the importance of sifting-Grandma did it, and so do I!

The picture above is of the cookies straight from the oven, as well as the sifter.