I once slept for 23 hours straight. It was crazy…I woke up and had lost almost a whole day of my life! A solid 6 hours is typically all my body needs to feel refreshed, but on that occasion there were special circumstances. I was in undergrad school at the time and I had just come home for my first weekend…apparently it had been a pretty rough semester. Or maybe my body was fighting something (hey, you never know). But I think it was fall that made me do it.
Fall, with its homey smells of burning leaves, apples, and cinnamon, and its crisp, cool weather is perfect for sleeping. And I’m not the only one who thinks so…
Scene on the Hudson (Rip Van Winkle) by James Hamilton, 1845; Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2nd Floor, South Wing
Remember the story Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving? Rip, who lived in New York’s Catskill Mountains, ventured up the mountains seeking a little solitude one autumn day. He then encountered a strange, motley group (whom he later discovered were the ghosts of Henry Hudson’s crew), drank a bit of their liquor, and fell asleep for 20 years. Who’s to say whether it was the liquor or the fact autumn was in the air? ;)
Anyway, it’s the first day of fall (in the northern hemisphere) and I wanted to share one of my favorite fall treats with you. Bake them up and you’ll really feel like autumn has arrived.
Molasses Crinkles (Adapted from Betty Crocker’s recipe for Molasses Crinkles)
Yields 2 dozen cookies
3/4 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2 tablespoons molasses
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, cream together the shortening, brown sugar, molasses, egg, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet; refrigerate the dough until chilled (I just stick it in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes).
Preheat oven to 375F and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners. Scoop the dough out with a 1 1/2 tablespoon measure and roll it into balls; arrange on the prepared baking sheets about 3 inches apart (they will spread out quite a bit as they cook; I do 6 cookies per half sheet pan).
Put a little bit of sugar in a shallow bowl. Grease the bottom of a glass with butter and dip it in the sugar; flatten each ball of dough slightly, re-greasing and sugaring as necessary.
Bake until they’re set along the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the trays once halfway through (be sure not to over-bake!). Cool for a couple minutes on the tray, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.