22 In Women Now

Mothers, daughters, a baby any minute, and Mom’s Molasses Spice Cookie recipe

mothers and daughters
Getting ready for Mother’s Day

Every morning for the last week I wake up and my first thought is, Caitlin didn’t have her baby last night. You see, we’re counting down days, maybe hours, until the big event. The Royal Event in the Kinsel family. My baby’s first baby. The baby that would have been Mother’s 10th great-grandchild. That event.

With all this nervous energy, I could be making cookies—Mom’s cookies, Mom’s Molasses Spice Cookies with footprints on top.

The grand kids would go wild for Mother’s footprint cookies. Heck, I went wild for them. Every time we flew home to Minnesota, the first place I’d look was inside the cookie jar, which was a monk in robes with a big smile on his face. It was always full. I’d look back at Mom and she’d beam. She sure knew how to please us!

Mom’s cookies have met a lot of people

Some of you have asked for this recipe. Mom would be tickled that I’m passing this it out to all of you pre-Mother’s Day. “You’re famous, Mom,” I’d say if she was here. Well, wait, she’s already famous for these cookies! I used to make them—and wrap them real cute—for image consultants in my seminars. I’d offer these footprint cookies at break time. It was memorable, and it made me feel like Mother was there with me. I liked bringing her with me to places she’d love. She’d have enjoyed all my image consultant friends and they’d have enjoyed her.

clip on earrings
Maggan wears Mother’s clip-on earrings in Stockholm

I made these spice cookies and brought them with me to Stockholm, Sweden when I went there in 2002 and 2003 to do makeovers on readers of Tara magazine, a magazine for women over 40. I brought plenty. I passed them out to the staff of the magazine, my makeover models, and even staff at the hotel I was staying at.

Mom and Maggan, the then editor of Tara, have a great connection. They spoke on the phone one Thanksgiving when the Swedes were here in Sonoma, and got to know each other through me. Maggan wears Mom’s earrings, the clip-ons I sent her when Mom died. Maggan takes her around Sweden and shows her the sites.

The big reveal: Mother’s Molasses Spice Cookie Recipe

mother's recipe
Mother was famous for her footprint cookies

It’s a bit involved, this recipe is. I like to make the dough in the late afternoon or early evening and then I put it in the fridge to get super cold. The next afternoon or early evening I roll the dough out into those walnut sized circles. When I get six of the walnut balls of dough, I drop them inside a Ziploc bag with granulated sugar. I seal the bag shut and then I shake, shake, shake until the balls are all coated in sugar.

I pull them out and put them on a lightly buttered pan and then use the footprint cookie press to flatten them out. Dip the cookie press in flour every time or two that you press the dough or the feet will get sticky and the dough will cling to them. I put the sheet of cookies in the oven and wait for the smell of spices and then I pull them out to cool on a cookie rack and get ready for the next batch. As soon as you smell the yumminess, they’re ready. I purposely burn the bottoms a little on some of them because burnt is my favorite flavor. You can seal them up in Ziploc bags and freeze them once they’ve cooled. That’s what I do.

And if you travel with them as I have, pull the bags of cookies out of the freezer at the last minute and slip them into your luggage just before heading to the airport. I wanted a nice presentation in Stockholm so I packed colorful tissue paper and flat boxes that I could assemble once I got there. Those supplies easily slipped into the front pocket of my suitcase.

Mother's cookie recipe
The Tara magazine staff in Stockholm enjoy Mother’s cookies

My first grandchild would be Mother’s 10th great-grandchild

Mom and her 9th great-grandchild, Julia Grace in 2014

Mother had 9 great-grandchildren. And now Caitlin’s little one will make it ten. “Mom!” I say. “Caity’s due date is on Mother’s Day! Is that the craziest thing? Oh, how I want a picture of you holding #10 like you’re holding #9, little Julia Grace.” Mother was in my dreams last night. I think she’s hearing me call out to her.

Putting a plan in place

Besides waiting for a baby, the Golden State Warriors are in round two of the NBA playoff games. That’s professional basketball, in case you’re not a fan already. I split my attention last night between the game and organizing a food train for Caitlin once the baby is born.

I took the advice of our baby delivering client who asked me on a shopping trip earlier this week what Erin and I were doing to prepare for the baby.

“Uh, nothing? I guess we’re playing it by ear! Is there something we should be doing?” I asked.

Great idea for brand new parents

She told us what she tells her patients. “It’s good to do some cooking ahead of time so you have food in the freezer ready to pull out. I also suggest you get a food train going. Ask friends or family to prepare food for one day each—at least the first two weeks—so every day the family has fresh, nutritious food to eat. Put me on the list.”

So while watching the game, I started texting Caitlin’s friends. Everyone was excited to be a part of it. Even Russ signed up and offered to make his famous pasta and sausage with tomato sauce.

Another piece of advice from the our doctor client was to tell the people dropping off food to just leave it with someone or plan to stay only ten minutes. Mama, Papa, and Baby need their time together sorting things out. They’ll most likely be tuckered out.

I texted Caitlin about the food train and she said exactly what Judy said. “For the food train thing…can you warn people we might not be that social…I’m not sure how I’ll be feeling, might be exhausted and be trying to figure baby out.”

You betcha, Baby.

Caitlin could become a mother on Mother’s Day

To plan something on Mother’s Day or not to plan?

We’re going ahead with Mother’s Day plans. Although Caitlin was born on her due date, January 4th, nearly everyone is telling me that first babies come late. Maybe I’ll have time to make cookies. Oh wait! Those footprint cookies could be little thank you gifts for when people drop off food! Pink ribbon, cellophane, polka dot tissue paper…I can see it!

Are there recipes or traditions you continue that started with Mom? Let’s share stories!


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  • Reply
    May 8, 2019 at 10:30 pm

    One food train I know of leaves a cooler by the door so that each day’s meal can be delivered with no fuss for the family.

    • Reply
      May 9, 2019 at 5:08 pm

      Another fabulous idea!!!! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Ramona Puckett
    May 9, 2019 at 4:18 am

    My first child, a daughter, was born on Mother’s Day forty one years ago! I am so excited for y’all!

    • Reply
      May 9, 2019 at 5:08 pm

      Oh Ramona! How cool! It would be awfully special if it happened that way. My middle daughter was born on Easter 39 years ago.

  • Reply
    Linda Scott
    May 9, 2019 at 5:23 am

    Brenda. Your cookies are so cute. I too have my first granddaughter coming in July. Would love to make these for the big event. Do you know where I can purchase the cookie footprint stamp? Love your blog!

    • Reply
      May 9, 2019 at 5:07 pm

      Thanks, Linda! I stumbled across this one in my local kitchen store, The Sign of the Bear, in Sonoma. I’d probably google “footprint cookie press” and see if a big store has it. Maybe Sur la Table? I’ve purchased a couple of other ones since then but this one is my favorite for many reasons!

  • Reply
    Linda B
    May 9, 2019 at 6:05 am

    I am so excited for you! And thank you for the recipe. Definitely going to try that as soon as I get a chance. Need to find the footprint thing though!

    I am just about 3 weeks behind you on the wait for my granddaughter. I can’t believe how exciting this is! I am glad that my daughter’s friends started organizing a meal train for her a few weeks ago, as I am 1400 miles away. But I’ll be there myself, hopefully ahead of the baby, and can do lots and lots of cooking for the new family all summer, because my retirement is happening just a few days before that due date!

    • Reply
      May 9, 2019 at 4:58 pm

      The timing couldn’t be better. Excited to be doing this together!! All the best to your daughter and wishes for a safe delivery for everyone!

  • Reply
    May 9, 2019 at 6:21 am

    Congratulations on a grand baby! Prayers for a safe delivery. I laughed when I read about the burnt cookies. That is my favorite flavor too!

    • Reply
      May 9, 2019 at 4:57 pm

      There’s nothing like burnt! Glad to have found a burnt cookie soul mate!

  • Reply
    May 9, 2019 at 8:21 am

    There’s an online site called mealtrain.com that is great for signing up and organizing the meals. Congrats!

    • Reply
      May 9, 2019 at 4:55 pm

      What a great resource, thank you!

  • Reply
    May 9, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    When my daughter had her babes I always made those English muffin egg sammies for freezer! Easy to pull out and microwave any time day or night! many variations on Pinterest! Good luck you are in for such a treat! Grandparenting soooo special, watching your child parent

    • Reply
      May 13, 2019 at 5:15 pm

      We are in the ‘any day now’ period. The anticipation is overwhelming! I’m so looking forward to holding this little girl. I think I’ll be spending a lot of time with my recipe books and Pinterest! Thanks for the tips!

  • Reply
    May 10, 2019 at 9:49 am

    My family is permanently estranged from my mother-in-law, starting with how she behaved on her first visit to our home after our baby was born. The first visit sets the course for the future. It should be blessedly brief and respect baby and mom’s need for rest. Don’t bring an uninvited entourage, leave when asked, and don’t demand that the new mom get up and cook for the uninvited crowd. I’ll say no more.

    • Reply
      May 13, 2019 at 5:13 pm

      Oh my goodness!!!! I promise to be totally sensitive to baby, mama, and papa! Ooh, that sounds awful!

  • Reply
    May 10, 2019 at 10:53 am

    I think all of your friends are anxiously awaiting your grandchild’s appearance. Can’t wait to hear the name. Happy Mother’s Day Brenda!

    • Reply
      May 13, 2019 at 5:17 pm

      Oh, Sandi, we’re in the highly anticipated zone right now. Can’t wait to share her name and other details. Join me in praying for a healthy delivery and a healthy baby. I know you already are! XO

  • Reply
    Barbara Johnson
    May 10, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    How wonderful! Enjoy your new grandchild and thank you for the wonderful cookie recipe!

    • Reply
      May 13, 2019 at 5:16 pm

      I’ll enjoy her and I hope you’ll enjoy those cookies! Thanks, Barbara!

  • Reply
    May 13, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    I really enjoy your newsy letters Brenda! Good luck to you and your family. Enjoy the new little one, they grow up So fast!

    • Reply
      May 13, 2019 at 5:15 pm

      Oh, I know you’re right! Can’t wait to begin this journey!

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