Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Summer Camp Cookies

Can you believe it? Summer's end is just around the corner. To me, one of the tell-tale signs of fall is the start of the new school year. In the south, school starts in early to mid-August, as the air conditioning is a respite for the hottest month of the year. In the northeast, school starts in September, because most schools do not have air-conditioners, so they must wait until it is a bit cooler to start. And although September 22nd is officially the first day of fall, Labor Day seems to be most people's idea of "Summer's Last Stand," the last time to truly enjoy all that summer has to offer.

I have to admit, I am pretty excited about the arrival of fall. I love the change in the seasons! I think that it is a reminder of Ecclesiastes 3: For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven...I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.

As much as I am looking forward to fall, I don't want to overlook the last few days of summer. After all, it will be another nine months or so before it comes around again, with all of it's fresh tomato, cucumber, corn, basil and butter bean goodness. And we do plan on celebrating on Labor Day, with an entire meal cooked on the grill. But until then, I will share these cookies with you.

These cookies really should be fall and winter cookies, as they are full of the spices that signify those seasons: cinnamon, ginger and cloves. However, to me, they are the ultimate summer camp cookie. My mom always made a double (or maybe triple?) batch of these to send to my brother, who would spend his summers working at Boy Scout camp. I remember her sending me a batch when I worked at Panama City Beach for a summer. I'm not sure, but I think a batch of these even made their way to Thailand, when my sister was living there. The thing that makes these the ultimate summer camp cookies is that they travel well, and they stay soft and chewy for quite a while. The key here is to take them out of the oven before they seem to be done, and they will be perfect.

Molasses Cookies

1 1/2 sticks of butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350°. Mix the melted butter with the sugar and molasses. Lightly beat the egg and add to the butter mixture. Blend well. In a separate bowl, sift the flower with the spices, salt and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix well. The batter will be wet.

Lay a sheet of foil on a cookie sheet. Drop batter by tablespoons on foil, leaving about 3 inches between the cookies. Bake for 8-9 minutes, until the cookies start to darken, but are still soft. Let cookies cool on the foil.

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