Maybe it’s because my grandma made these when I was a kid. Maybe it’s because my son has bright red hair, freckles sprinkled across his face and Irish blood coursing through his veins, and I get a sense of satisfaction when I watch him gulp these down. Or maybe it’s just because I can eat these by the truckload. I don’t know for sure, but these cookies are some of the best I’ve ever eaten. I owe all the credit for this recipe to my great grandmother, who was full-blooded Portuguese, and never celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. It was my grandmother who started the tradition of making these along with the traditional St. Patty’s meal and us kids always finished our beef and cabbage just so we could partake in these sweet, savory ginger molasses morsels.
The recipe is very simple, which makes it all the better to add it to the green day feast. My only caution is to make certain you have enough to go around, because (as it happens in my home) these will not last through the evening.
Pre-heat your over to 350 degrees.
Measure in a large mixing bowl:
3/4 cup shortening (can substitute butter, which I prefer)
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 large egg
1/4 cup light (or golden) molasses
Cream these ingredients together using mixer or by hand until the ingredients are well blended.
Then sift together into the creamed mixture:
2 cups sifted enriched flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger (powdered or fresh)
1/2 teaspoon cloves
Mix to moderately stiff dough.
Stir in 1 cup seedless raisins.
Divide the dough evenly onto 2 greased and floured 9x9x1cookie sheets.
With floured fingers, press the dough evenly into the pans. Brush the entire surface of the dough with water and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes in a pre-heated oven. When done baking, remove from the oven and put on a write rack to cool.
Cut into bars 3 x 1-1/2 inches; store in an airtight container.
Eat up and enjoy your holiday!