I went through a couple of notebooks in which mother had typed up tried and true recipes, two folders of her clipped recipes as well as my grandmother's collection of handwritten recipes. At last, I found it! THE recipe! Now to MAKE them and see if they were as good as they remembered.... (They were! Biting into one took me back some 50 years or more!)
I was interested to learn that the recipe originated with my Great Aunt Daisy Pearl M., born in 1877. (Don't you just LOVE her name? It sounds so old-timey!) By the time I knew my Aunt Daisy, she was quite elderly, but could still play a "mean" game of Scrabble and bake award-worthy pies. I think cooking must've been her love language, for guests of Aunt Daisy's were often presented with delectable treats, fresh from her kitchen.
Besides being a master cook, Aunt Daisy was also an accomplished quilt maker who handmade hundreds of quilts in her lifetime, most of which were donated to charity. I am blessed to own three of those quilts. I remember as a child, studying the many scraps of fabric artfully sewn into patterns and wondering after the garments from which they had been cut, who had worn them, and when....
As a younger woman, Aunt Daisy had worked in the kitchen of the Loma Linda Sanitarium which eventually became the now world-famous Loma Linda University Hospital. My mother's first child was born in "the San" as the locals called it. She recalled being amazed at the beautiful and heavily laden meal trays delivered to her room - meals fit for a queen! She later discovered that Aunt Daisy had personally been preparing her trays!
The cookies shown in the photograph are the ones which I made today, photographed on a dessert plate hand-painted by my mother, and sitting on a vintage cotton tablecloth she used when I was growing up! - Memories shared by Daisy's grand niece, LuAnn Bermeo.
Makes 2 (10x15) pans with 32 bars each (I made HALF a recipe)!
Lemon Glaze: (Optional)
1 1/2 cups confectionersí sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Cream shortening with sugar. Beat in molasses and eggs.
Sift flour with salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add to creamed ingredients alternately with buttermilk. Stir in raisins and nuts.
Divide dough evenly between the two prepared pans, then use a spatula to spread evenly.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Cookies should feel set when pressed lightly with a fingertip in the center; but, avoid OVER baking them.
Meanwhile, combine glaze ingredients in a small bowl, mixing with a fork or spoon until smooth. It will seem thick, but that's ok.
As soon as the cookies are removed from the oven, divide. the glaze between the two pans, then spread quickly but carefully into a very thin layer, covering the entire tops of the bars.
Cool cookies completely, then use a sharp knife to cut each pan into 32 squares (4 lengthwise cuts x 8 crosswise cuts).
Store bars in an airtight box with waxed paper between the layers.