Enfield Shaker Ginger Cookies Recipe

SISTER MARTHA WETHERHILL, ENFIELD SHAKER VILLAGE, NEW HAMPSHIRE
Enfield Shaker Ginger Cookies
Enfield Shaker Ginger Cookies

ORIGINAL RECIPE

Two cups molasses, one cup sour milk, five teaspoons of soda, well beaten with the above. One cup sugar, ginger to taste, a little salt, one cup butter, one cup cottolene (Crisco, etc.), 4 eggs, whites and yolks beaten separately. Flour to roll easily. Cut thin and bake in a hot oven.

Enfield Shaker Ginger Cookies Recipe

KITCHEN-TESTED BY NAN MUNSEY, ENFIELD SHAKER MUSEUM

UPDATED RECIPE
3 cups (360 grams) flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (113 grams) butter
1/2 cup (95 grams) Crisco
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
1/2 cup molasses (87 grams)
1 egg
1/2 cup milk (123 grams)
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Grease (or line with parchment paper) baking sheets.

In a small bowl whisk together the flour, salt, ginger, and baking soda.

In another small bowl, mix together the milk with either lemon juice or vinegar.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter, Crisco, 1/2 cup sugar (reserve the other 1/2 cup), and molasses. Beat in the egg.

On low speed, add the flour mixture 1 cup at a time, alternating with the milk mixture.

Scoop the soft dough out the bowl onto a floured surface. If the dough seems too soft, refrigerate for an hour or more to chill.

To shape the cookies, scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough and roll it between your palms into a 1 1/2″ ball. Repeat to form 4-6 balls. Place the balls in a cake pan with reserved sugar and toss to coat. Fill a prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2″ apart. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are browned, still puffy, and edges have started to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between the cracks and seem underdone), about 11 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Do NOT overbake them. YIELDS ABOUT 48 COOKIES.

Kitchen-Tester’s Note: Making the original recipe as written created an extremely wet and gooey dough that could not be “rolled and cut thin”. In revising this recipe I’ve kept the flavor profile but decreased the liquid. If you wish a jazzier version add 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon allspice, and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.

This recipe first appeared in Shaker Recipes for Cooks and Homemakers, by William Lassiter (New York: Greenwich Book Publishers, 1959, p. 132) and is attributed to Sister Martha Wetherhill. Shaker Recipes for Cooks and Homemakers was reprinted by Bonanza Books in 1978 under the title Shaker Recipes and Formulas for Cooks and Homemakers. Both editions are out of print, but are available at reasonable cost at www.abebooks.com or www.eBay.com.

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