This recipe is one of my childhood favorites and comes from my great-grandmother. You’ll see a notation in the upper right corner stating it was her “mother’s reciept“. I remember these cookies being thin and chewy, a delicious treat that is hard to stop eating.
(Mother’s old recipe)
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of lard
1 1/2 cups of molasses
1 cup of sour milk
1 tsp. ginger and cinnamon
1 tsp. soda
You’ll notice from the recipe there are two ingredients which differ from most modern day molasses recipes, sour milk and the use of lard. The use of sour milk is perfect for those of us who never seem to finish a carton and always seem to throw away that last cup or two of milk because it’s started to spoil. Lard is not commonly used in baking but does add a different taste to baked goods. You can still find it sold in some grocery markets.
The secret to this recipe isn’t written in the recipe though. My great-grandmother didn’t have lard on hand all the time when I was growing up, at least that’s not how I remember it. For the lard, she often used a mix of shortening (i.e. Crisco) and bacon grease. Bacon grease is simple the rendered fat from cooking bacon. When allowed to cool, the fat will thicken and harden into a solid when refrigerated. She would use the shortening and bacon grease at room temperature.
The use of bacon grease adds further flavor – don’t worry, it isn’t outwardly noticeable but the smokey richness somehow elevates the flavor of these cookies. It’s not a cookie to eat every day but is definetly worth trying at some point in your life.
Unfortunately, the amount of flour isn’t noted in the recipe nor is the cooking time or oven temperature. This is common in my great-grandmother’s recipes. Based on the ingredients used, I would expect it to be about 2-3 cups but you should add enough to form a basic cookie dough consistency.
Mix ingredients together until blended. Scoop into tablespoon sized balls, rolling between your hands to form them. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.