Skirts, Boots and Ginger Cookies

Mom's Favorite Chewy Molasses Ginger Cookies
The fall Nordstrom catalog arrived the other day. There are very few things about which I get excited enough about to be willing to kiss warm, dry, social summer goodbye,

but boots and grey sweater dresses definitely are on my buh-bye summer list. Thank you Nordstrom, for easing the transition.

These uber-special ginger cookies are another item on the"so-long summer, catch ya the next time around" list. If I believed in secret recipes, mine would be this. But for you I share.

I think of this recipe at this time of year not only for it's chewy, spicy, gingery, molasses-ey goodness, but because it is one of my mom's favorites, and she has an early autumn birthday. For twenty-five years, my mom and I have lived she on the east coast, me on the west, and rarely get to share birthdays or changing seasons. I think of her every time I make them.

 And while I'm talking about my mom, fall and fashion, let me share this: It was my mom who showed me to care about fashion. We weren't wealthy, but we were creative and industrious. Under my mom's tutelage, the very first garment I sewed at the age of eight was a simple skirt. I wore it to school the first day of the fourth grade.

I still love skirts best of all. (And, by the way, Nordstrom's skirts rock this fall.)

Dolman sleeves??? I love dolman sleeves!

It was also my mom who made way in her kitchen for her eight-year-old daughter to play and experiment. After a couple of years of those experiments going well, it was my mom who traded me dishwashing duties for cooking, an arrangement that suited this pre-teen well. All I had to do was make a list of ingredients I would need, and they'd magically appear for my next turn in the kitchen, thanks to mom.
 Cookies Men Like

These cookies also remind me of my mom because back somewhere around 1968, something like it was all the rage with her and her coffee clatch of neighbor women. Theirs was a little more dense in texture, not so chewy, but pretty darn good. They all loved it because it was a favorite with their husbands. Their overheard conversation made me think about food in a new and powerful way. While I've never met a woman who doesn't like this cookie I'll always think of them as the Cookie Men Like.
Go ahead a treat yourself to these cookies. The batch makes a mere 15 (HUGE) cookies, enough for you to have one with tea the afternoon you bake them, and the rest for your office mates, neighbors or if you're lucky, your mom. They also make a pretty fantastic I cream sandwich with brown sugar- molasses ice cream (even more huge.)

Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies
makes 15 very large cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons pumpkin or apple pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of one lemon, finely grated
a generous 1/3 cup finely snipped candied ginger
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1/4 cup dark molasses
 Additional white sanding sugar (for rolling dough balls)

Preheat oven to 350˚. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk flour through ginger (six ingredients) in a large bowl.  In another large bowl, beat sugar and canola oil with stand or hand mixer until pale in color, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg. Beat in molasses. Cup at a time, gently stir in flour mixture by hand.

With a 3-tablespoon scoop, gather up a ball of dough and drop it into a small bowl of sanding sugar. Gently roll it to evenly coat the dough. Place at least 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets. (Five cookies of this size will fill a standard baking sheet.) 

Bake until cookies are golden brown and crackly on top, about 12 minutes. Let cook 3 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack to complete cooling.  

Notes: These make 30 or so smaller cookies as well, just watch to time accordingly to not overbake. But there's something so generous about one large cookie rather than 3 small ones!

The lemon zest is the secret ingredient. You don't notice it's there unless it's not there, so don't be tempted to omit it.

Granulated sugar will work in a pinch, but the big white sanding sugar crystals make a really neat textural crunch around the chewiness of the cookies. I get mine at a local grocery store bakery... You might have to ask. Or order at King Arthur.

Happy Birthday, Mom!


  1. I have been searching for chewy molasses cookie to remind me of the ones our farmer's market would sell in Pennsylvania. I can't wait to try and Nordstroms opened up here last week in Nashville. Now I have a place to buy shoes!

  2. Thank you Pam for the wonderful tribute and birthday wishes!!!!!
    It is true, these cookies are one of the world's yummiest treats.
    You are the BEST.

  3. Yummy cookie recipe! And yes, Nordstroms ROCKS :)

  4. Trying to live in the High Desert of SoCal when my brain is still in Kentucky has been a huge challenge over the past 2 years. I find myself wishing for that autumn weather while its still 90F here during the days. These cookies should help me with my fantasy... THANKS PAM!

  5. and...Happy Birthday Pam's MOM!

  6. These cookies have my name all over them! Especially with the huge sparkles of sugar!!

  7. What a great post!! Those boots are so cute and your cookies sound delicious!! New follower! xoxo

  8. I agree, skirts and boots help make the transition into fall easier--plus comfy tights! I suppose that's why I just bought, ahem, three new sweaters. On sale, of course!

  9. Happy Fall! Love the cookies :-) Kate @ kateiscooking

  10. The weather here is still quite summer like but cooler air is on the way this weekend. Ginger cookies are the perfect cookie for those crisp autumn days after getting back from the pumpkin patch. :)

  11. It is so cool how a certain food can conjure up such wonderful memories. Your cookies look delicious, love the sparkly sugar.
    Like you I am looking forward to fall clothing, especially big fuzzy sweaters.

  12. So excited for fall - now I need brown boots!! Ginger cookies sound spicy and delicious!

  13. Loving the skirts and boots...fall here we come! I'm now following you're blog :)

  14. Loving the cookies, but crushing on those last set of boots something awful. My mom wore red cowboy boots....everywhere. It was interesting, lol.

  15. I think the cookies look amazing. Can't afford much at Nordstrom's but I do love looking at their catalog.

  16. There are some great staff in that catalogue but honestly I prefer the cookies.

    Greets short term rental london

  17. Love it! Totally agree with you about skirts and boots, I would just add scarves to the mixture. Can't wait to try your Fall cookie.

  18. I love dolman sleeves! So many pretty desses and skirts and boots! Instead of going to work today, I want to go shopping and then make these cookies!

  19. the cookies look great, warms you up with so many childhood memories. great post!

  20. Ginger cookies are one of my all time favorites. And I LOVE those boots!

  21. While I'm truly eyeing those boots you have shown, it's the cookies that are really catching my eye! You have all my favorite flavors there, and I love the idea of the huge cookie. Nicely done!

  22. I love (love!) a good ginger cookie. These look classic, chewy, and wonderful. I've also been hunting for new boots and sweaters...tis the season. It definitely makes me feel better about saying goodbye to summer. Oh, and it sounds like you're having an AMAZING time in Italy.


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