Ma’s Wine Drops

I have absolutely no idea why these are called Wine Drops. There is no wine in the recipe. There isn’t even alcohol in it. Okay, I guess the vanilla could technically be called alcohol, seeing as how it is made from bourbon, but no wine. None at all.

This is the large recipe.

The really really large recipe. Insanely large.

Ma had eight children. Not much point in making small recipes of ANYTHING!

Here is the big, loud, Irish bunch. My favorite part of this picture is that AT LEAST four of these folks are talking while the picture is being taken. I can’t tell you how typical this is of our family gatherings. Some things just never ever change.

They lived together in a showplace of a Victorian house. It was covered in porches, a round tower-type window and filled with gorgeous woodwork that needed to be dusted weekly.

Ma had enormous lilac bushes and Pop had an elaborate garden. When we would visit, he would pick cherry tomatoes for me and have a tiny wooden basket of them waiting for me. I never knew that the tomatoes weren’t a delicacy he had created just for me until I was much older.

I can still smell the sun on those still-warm tomatoes and the see the dirt under his fingernails.

I cut this recipe in half and it was still a ton of cookies! You can make a simple vanilla glaze or just dip them in granulated sugar or sparkling sugar (my preference this season).

Ma’s Wine Drops

2 cups molasses
2 cups shortening (I used unsalted butter because shortening gives me the willies)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs

1 1/3 cups warm water

10 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. cloves
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. salt

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt. Whisk until thoroughly combined.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together molasses, butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time.

Alternate adding warm water and flour mixture, ending with the flour mixture.

Form 1 inch balls, roll in sugar, if desired.

Bake at 350° for about 10 minutes or until tops are firm and bottom just starts to brown.

When I think of Ma standing in her kitchen, mixing this massive batch of cookies, BY HAND, I smile.

This delivers the flavors of gingerbread, and that wonderful aroma, without all that rolling and decorating. I love the simplicity of the rounded sugar with the pavé diamond look of the sparkling sugar. The crunch of the sugar with the soft spiced cookies is just delightful.

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