This week is the is the 15th anniversary of my mother, Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns, death. She succumbed to her battle against cancer 28 April 2001.
Earlier this month, 8 April 2016, was the anniversary of my father, Nelson William Stearns, 86th birthday.
This form of remembrance was triggered recently by Amy Johnson Crow’s Periscope presentation of #31DaysofBetterGenealogy, about recording the artifacts we have in our possession. You don’t want future generations discarding your memories without sharing the importance they meant to you.
I mentioned I still had the Model T Cookie Jar that I purchased, with one of my first real paychecks, for my father. Amy quickly informed me I needed to blog about it, including a recipe of the cookies it contained.
Why do I say my first real paycheck? I worked with my father and cousin throughout the year at my Dad’s service station in Pembroke New Hampshire. In the summer’s I would work along beside my Dad and cousin, Ernest Perkins, Ernest’s junk yard in Sutton, New Hampshire, getting parts for cars. Dad always paid me something , even in bartering or cash for my work.
My first official job was for Leon’s Ice Cream Stand, in Pembroke, New Hampshire [Now Chantilly’s.] I started at the end of May 1968. [Also working there was, David Paul Levesque, who became my sister, Vickie’s [Vickie Mae Stearns] first husband and father of my niece, Jennifer and nephew David.
So when my first or maybe my second paycheck came in, it was just before Father’s Day. My Mother and I went shopping to pick out something special for my father. When I saw the Model T Ford cookie jar, I know that is what I wanted to get him.
The first type of cookie to go into this jar was my father’s favorite cookie, Molasses. What people call, Hermits. Dad always called them Molasses Cookies because, “they are not Hermits without the raisins.” I filled the jar with my mothers recipe, made by me. My father was very please with the results, except he said, “There is only one problem with these cookies.” [my face, first time he made this comment, dropped about ten feet. Wait for the rest of the statement…] Dad always added a long pause before finishing his statement, “It taste like more.”
I had been cooking a long time so I knew what was coming. It still brings a smile to my face and happy tears to my eyes, just remembering his words.
My mother’s Hermit recipe in her own handwriting. It is a much loved and used recipe.
4 1/2 cups Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon [I use Pumpkin Pie Spice or Apple Pie Spice]
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Allspice
1 cup Shortening [usually Crisco]
2 cups Brown Sugar or Black Strap Molasses
1 cup Milk
1 cup Chopped Nuts
1 Cup Raisins
Bake 5-6 minutes at 350 degrees.
[Cream together the shortening, sugar/molasses; add the eggs. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients. Slowly add, alternating, between Milk and dry ingredients, until well blended. Don’t be to heavy handed or you will have tough cookies.]
Mom usually just dropped them onto the buttered cookie sheet to bake. If she made the Hermits, with the raisins, she would roll the dough out and and cut into squares.
I hope you enjoy my mothers Molasses cookies.
Tomorrow’s recipe may surprise you. It was my father’s favorite recipe to make.