Mother and Dad, aka Mimi and Gramps, kept these in a tin and a cookie jar for most of the 20 or so growing up years of their next door grandchildren. Some of the grandchildren from farther away loved these, too. The recipe I located, in Mother's handwriting, appeared on a card imprinted, "From the kitchen of Ruth Roberts." With a little bit of internet research, I believe it's likely these cookies came from the kitchen of Betty Crocker originally.

For best results, find at least one child to help with making the batter and shaping the cookies.

Yield: About 4 dozen two-inch (small) cookies.


  • ¾ cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup sorghum
  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • 1/3 cup granulated (white) sugar for topping


  1. Mix shortening, sugar, eggs, and sorghum.
  2. Sift together flour, salt, soda, and spices.
  3. Stir into sorghum mix just until flour is fully blended. Dough will be stiff.
  4. Chill dough for several hours or overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  6. Roll into balls about the size of a walnut. Dip tops in granulated sugar. (Here is where children make this recipe even better.)
  7. Place on cookie sheet and press thumbprint into each cookie. Put a drop of water into each thumbprint. Bake for 8–10 minutes, or until slightly browned.

This recipe doubles perfectly. To be truthful, I have never known anyone in my family to make just a single recipe at a time.

* While lovely Betty Crocker called for molasses, every cook I know makes these with sorghum, which was, of course, called "molasses," or "sorghum molasses," in many Kentucky homes, and still is.