Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My favorite cookies.


I remember few happier moments in my childhood than coming home to the sight and smell of my mom baking and icing my favorite cookies: Missouri Crybabies. My sister is visiting this week, so I thought I would whip up a batch for her. She was quite pleased!

'Zuri Crybabies (as we called them) were not only my favorite cookies, but also the favorite of my dad, my sister and brother and literally every cousin on my dad's side of the family. My grandmother used to make Missouri Crybabies for my dad and his sisters and brothers when they were growing up, and she passed the recipe along to my mom. I've never heard of them or seen a similar recipe anywhere else. My aunt reported that she once came across a recipe for Molasses Crybabies in an old cookbook, and she thinks that perhaps my grandmother acquired the recipe from someone in Missouri and renamed them. At any rate, they are much beloved in our family.

At a Parker cousins reunion several summers ago, my cousin Steve requested that we stage a "Missouri Crybaby Cook-off" and offered to serve as the judge. Everyone recognized this as a thinly veiled ruse on Steve's part to garner himself a large supply of Missouri Crybabies, but my sister and two other cousins complied and brought along these cookies to the reunion. Steve sampled several from each batch and declared everyone a winner, and the cookies did not last long at that family gathering.

There's a rumor that perhaps you need to be born into my dad's family to appreciate Missouri Crybabies. My mother doesn't much care for them, nor does Robert. But a childhood neighbor's first post upon discovering my mother on Facebook was, "Do you still make those fabulous Crybaby cookies?" The neighborhood kids at my house yesterday certainly gobbled them up with raving appreciation as well.

Missouri Crybabies are a very soft, cake-like cookie with a thin powdered sugar icing on top. They are especially good with a glass of milk and also work well as breakfast or a midnight snack (not that I would know - I've just heard this).

If my dad is reading this, he'll be pleased to know that I set aside a few cookies to send to him as I know my mom doesn't make Missouri Crybabies much anymore.


Missouri Crybabies

Mix together:
1 c brown sugar
1 c Crisco oil
1 c molasses
2 eggs, well beaten

Sift together, then add to above:
4 c flour
¼ t salt
1 t nutmeg
1 t cinnamon
2 t baking soda

Stir in:
1 c boiling water

Spoon small amounts onto cookie sheet. Bake at 375° for 7 minutes. (I bake them on parchment paper. I don't think my mother greased her cookie sheet, but she did use one that was rimmed. The batter is fairly liquid, not at all like a cookie dough.)

Cool on waxed paper (or on the parchment paper if you're lazy like I am). Then frost with:
2 c powdered sugar
3 T milk
½ t vanilla

(I always run out of the icing and have to make more.)

Makes a whole lot. Maybe 8 dozen? They don't ever last long enough at my house for me to count.

A batch of Missouri Crybabies before baking

Just iced and ready to eat!


DawnW said...

What an interesting cookie recipe! Thanks so much for sharing. I love to bake and try new "treats" so we might have to try these. We made your gingersnaps with lemon icing last week and my two boys gobbled them right up!!

Maggie said...

The cookies look perfectly delicious! Thanks for sharing.

The 5 Bickies said...

These sound a bit like our ginger cookies just thinner and iced. Sounds like we will have to give them a try.

I love the story! Thanks for the recipe!

Mary Alice said...

I'm going to try those now. We love cookies with molasses and spice...I have one recipe that I do in the fall. It is perfect for a crisp afternoon. These sound great too.

Unknown said...

Yes, I'm reading, and your mom makes the best. She recommends frosting before they are cool. This keeps them moist and soft. If they are too hard, they are sometimes refered to as hockey pucks! Both of my daughters make very good ones. My mother also had a different recipe for oatmeal cookies that neither of my sisters have. I have looked without success to find one similar. They were thick, perhaps 3/4 inch, were yellowish, soft and had only raisens.


JoAnn said...

Loved the story of these cookies. Cannot wait to make them!