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Molasses Cookies

----- Original Message -----
From: Joe
To: phaedrus
Sent: Friday, October 25, 2002 8:02 AM
Subject: HELP! Molasses cookie receipe

I really need some help.  I'm trying to "re-construct" 
an old cookie receipe.  It was handed down by generations 
in a North Carolina family.  I know that the receipe called 
for one quart of molasses, and 5 pounds of flour!  I also 
know that the finished cookies, very thin and crisp, were
dark brown, heavy on a ginger flavor, and were always made 
for the holidays. Would appreciate your help in being able 
to fill out the rest of ingredients, receipe, etc.  
Thanks so much for your help and consideration!
Joe Eagle

Hello Joe,

The below recipe has a quart of molasses, but only 4 pounds of flour. It comes from the Moravians of North Carolina. I hope it's close, as it's the only one I found like that.


Moravian Molasses Cookies

Recipe courtesy of Evelyn Sellers, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
This recipe makes an enormous quantity of cookies - up to 8 pounds. 
Read through all the instructions before attempting it.

1 qt unsulfured molasses
1 lb light brown sugar
12 oz (3/4 lb) lard
4 oz (1 stick) margarine
About 4 lbs all-purpose flour
4 tbsp fresh ground cloves
4 tbsp fresh cinnamon
2 tbsp fresh ground ginger
3 level tbsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Melt the margarine and lard together and set aside to 
cool to lukewarm.

Put the molasses in a very large and heavy smooth-bottomed pot. 
Stir in the cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and the brown sugar. Turn 
to medium-high and start stirring with a wooden spoon until the 
mixture is warm, the sugar has dissolved, and all the spices are 
incorporated - 5 to 10 minutes. Do NOT bring it to a boil.

Put the salt and soda in a cup or small bowl and mix it with 
about 3 tablespoons of flour in a cup. Add that to the molasses 
mixture. Stir until completely dissolved, mashing any particles 
of soda against the side of the pot so that every bit is 

Pour in the cooled margarine and lard, and beat with a wooden 
spoon until completely blended. Allow the whole mixture to cool 
before adding the flour, or the dough will absorb more flour. 
Add about one-third of the flour mixture and stir well with a 
wooden spoon. Add the second third of flour and continue to mix.

Take the remaining third of flour and sprinkle a work surface 
thickly with some of it. Scrape all the dough out onto the floured 
surface, and begin to knead, flouring your hands frequently while 
you incorporate the remaining flour.

When the dough has become stiff and firm and far less sticky, 
roll it into a long tube and cut it into eight pieces, which 
will weigh roughly one pound each. Shape each ball into a disk, 
slapping the surface with your hands to smooth it (you'll see 
the lard rise to the surface, making each disk kind of shiny).

Put four disks of dough in each of two large plastic bags and seal. 
Allow to sit overnight on the countertop. The dough will swell some 
and the spice flavors will mellow and blend.

When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. 
Cover  a pastry or rolling board (or a square piece of plywood) 
with bleached muslin that's been washed several times, tacking 
it tightly around the edges. Flour the muslin and rub the flour 
into the cloth to coat it deeply. Roll the cookies as thin as 
possible, 1/16 to 1/32 of an inch. Cut with any cookie cutter 
you like, using tiny cutters such as hearts or circles to cut 
out little cookies in the spaces between larger cookies. (You 
can also gather the scraps and re-roll, but these cookies won't 
be as tender.)

Lift the cookies onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 
10 minutes. Watch them, and don't let the cookies brown around 
the edges. Allow to cool on the pan for several minutes before 
lifting them onto cooling racks. As soon as they're completely 
cool, pack and store in an airtight container. If you're using 
cookie tins, seal the lid of the tin with masking tape. Any 
air creeping in will cause the cookies to soften. Yields about 
7 or 8 pounds of cookies


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Donna 
  To: phaedrus
  Sent: Thursday, October 24, 2002 11:58 PM
  Subject: please!

  Hello! Can you tell me if the colors on Mandalas (i think 
  that its in Hinduism, a "rug" in which colored sand is 
  poured to make a design and is then destroyed to show its 
  impermanence) symbolise anything? If so what do they represent?

  Please if you get this e-mail, e-mail me back as soon 
  as posible (project for school). Thanks a lot!

Hello Donna, I think you are confusing two different kinds of mandalas. There is a rug mandala, which is used as an object of meditation in Hinduism. Then, there is the sand mandala of Tibetan Buddhism, which is created, then destroyed to signify the impermanence of the Universe. The colors used are traditional and symbolic in both kinds of mandala.

I do not have time to research the meanings of individual colors for you, but I can point you in the right direction. This pages has links to information about mandalas:


Cheddar Cheese Cookies

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Patricia
  To: phaedrus
  Sent: Thursday, October 24, 2002 10:16 PM
  Subject: Cheese cookies

  I'm looking for a recipe for cookies that contain shredded or 
  grated cheddar cheese.  I had this recipe a long time ago and 
  lost it.  I think it had confectioners sugar, butter, shortening, 
  cream of tartar and flour and of course the cheddar cheese.  
  Can't remember if it had anything else in it like vanilla, etc.  

  I think, but not sure, it came from an old Spry baking leaflet.

  Any help you can give me is appreciated.


Hello Patricia,

Perhaps the recipe below might be it?


   Title: Cheese Cookies
        Yield: 6 Dozen
      1/2 lb Cheddar cheese; grated
      1/2 lb Butter; softened
      1/2 c  Sifted powdered sugar
        3 c  Flour
      1/2 c  Chopped pecans; optional
    Combine cheese and butter. Stir in remaining
    ingredients; shape into a roll and chill until
    ready to bake.
    Preheat oven to 375.
    Slice very thinly; place on cookie sheets and bake
    about 10 minutes.
    Makes 6 to 8 dozen.

Spice Cake

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Dick  
  To: phaedrus
  Sent: Friday, October 25, 2002 10:11 AM
  Subject: Pennsylvania Dutch Spice Cake

  I am 62 years old and I use that as a reference for my 
  grandmother's Pennsylvania Dutch Spice Cake which was raisin based.  
  Ground raisins.

  Would any and all recipes that might emulate this wonderful memory.

  Many thanks,

Hello Dick,

I searched every spice cake recipe that I could locate, and every Pennsylvania Dutch recipe site, but the recipe below is the only one that I could find with ground raisins.


  Special Spice Cake 

  1 cup Brown sugar; 
  1/3 cup Butter; 
  2 Eggs; 
  1 cup Sour Cream; 
  1 1/2 cups Flour; 
  1 tsp. Baking soda; 
  1/4 tsp. ea Cassia, Allspice & Nutmeg; 
  1 cup Ground Raisins; 
  1 cup Chopped walnuts 

  Cream butter and sugar well. Add eggs, one at a time, 
  beating well after each. Dissolve soda in sour cream 
  and add to creamed mixture. Sift together the flour 
  and spices. Add to creamed mixture. Blend in raisins 
  and walnuts. Bake in layers for 25 minutes at 350.  

Duchess Potatoes

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Dick
  To: phaedrus
  Sent: Friday, October 25, 2002 10:12 AM
  Subject: Eggs

  What effect does an egg have on mashed potatoes?

Hello Dick,

Well, it's hard to say. It makes for a richer dish. There's a dish that's made this way, with mashed potatoes, egg, and a little milk. It's called "duchess potatoes". See the recipes below.


   Duchess  Potatoes

     Beat 2 eggs; add to mashed potatoes and beat until blended.  Drop
   mixture by spoonfuls in mounds onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Brush
   with melted butter.  Cook uncovered at 425 degrees until potatoes
   are light brown, about 15 minutes.  
   Duchess  Potatoes

   Ingredients : 
   4 med. size red skin potatoes, peeled and quartered
   3 tbsp. milk
   4 tsp. butter or margarine
   1 egg yolk
   1/4 tsp. salt
   1/8 tsp. black pepper

   Preparation : 
     Boil potatoes until tender.  In a small saucepan heat milk and
   stir in butter.  Drain potatoes and mash, then beat in egg yolk and
   milk mixture, add salt and pepper to taste.  


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