A Small Gift from Alaine Garcia

When I was young, things weren’t always great at home. It got worse after my mother died, but I was lucky to have my grandmother’s house as a haven. She was one of those warm, loving grandmothers right out of a fairy tale; tiny and round, with a happy smile and short curly white hair. 

I adored her. 

She’s gone now, and after she died, the rest of my family drifted apart. I never realized how much one person can make a home special until the magic was sucked right out of her house the moment she wasn’t there. 

After I moved into the apartment above Jules’s office, I discovered that if I used my grandmother’s recipes, it made my home smell like her home. 

A tiny bit of the magic came back. 

So I baked a lot, and these cookies are extra special. They are the ones I made for Chu that cold night when we first met. They remind me of Christmas and warmth in the midst of winter and I wanted to share that with him. 

Kind of sweet, but of all the treats I’ve made him since then, the spiced molasses cookies are still his favorite. 

I thought it would be a nice thing to share going into December. 

Wishing you all the best!

 Your friend and sister in battle, 




Grandma’s Spiced Molasses Cookies

Makes about 36


2 cups sifted all-purpose flour 

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger 

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup solid vegetable shortening

¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature 

1 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar

1 egg

¼ cup dark molasses 

Ice water



1) Preheat oven to 350°F.


2) Lightly grease cookie sheets. 


3) Sift first six ingredients together into medium bowl. 


4) In larger, separate bowl, use a mixer and beat shortening, butter and brown sugar until fluffy. 


5) Add egg and molasses to butter mix mixture and beat until smooth. 


6) Stir in first six dry ingredients and mix until fully blended. 


7) Refrigerate cookie dough for 1 hour. 


8) Roll dough into balls slightly smaller than a golf ball, dip quickly in ice water, then roll in sugar to coat (this gives it that crackle coating.) 


9) Arrange on cookie sheets, approx. 2 inches apart. 


10) Bake 10 minutes, slightly less for convection ovens. Cookies should be crackled on top, but soft to touch when you take them out. 


11) Let stand approx. 1 minute, then move to rack to cool completely. (Note: Chu rarely lets them cool completely, maybe you’ll have better luck in your house.) 


12) Enjoy! And store whatever isn’t eaten the first night in an airtight container.