A Halfway Day: a post and a recipe

It’s an unsettled kind of day. It’s raining. Or is it snowing? I can see some snow on the ground, accumulated under some of the bushes—but it looks like rain coming out of the sky. Either way it’s gray and dreary.

I’m also ripping my house apart because I lost a credit card…actually the one in my wallet expired in 2011 (I don’t use it that often), but my husband’s expires in 2014. That means I never put the new one in my wallet, and it’s somewhere in the house—I can’t find it, but I need to. I doubt the expired one will work as even half a credit card (if there is such a thing).

Now, the tenth of December, I’m halfway in the holiday spirit, too, but halfway not. We have lights up but no tree (that will be after our two kids are home). Growing up I had an estranged Jewish father and a Christian mother, so we only celebrated Christmas. As I got older, and re-connected with relatives, our family celebrated Hanukkah too. I love lighting the Menorah and preparing latkes. But I also love decorating the Christmas tree.

See what I mean? A halfway day and a halfway month.

Kind of like my writing. Right now I’m halfway there to deciding to self-publish my newly-completed mystery. And I’m doing research for my almost-ready-to-start-writing WIP. I have one foot in self-publishing, one foot still in querying, one hand writing, one hand researching. It’s an exciting kind of time in a terrifying, breakneck, busy kind of way…

So this weekend I did what any sensible uncertain person with too much to do does—I baked cookies. Four kinds to be precise. If you follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook you might have seen my photos, labeled Cookies Rounds 1 through 4: Black Walnut Sandies, Classic Sugar Cookies, Almond Spritzes, and Molasses Crackles. I posted a photo of the last ones on Facebook, and Leah Singer (if you haven’t visited her blog Leah’s Thoughts, you should, it’s awesome!) asked if she could have the recipe. It follows this post.

If you, like me, are having an unsettled, uncertain, half raining-half snowing kind of month…maybe you should bake some cookies! (And just know you’re not alone.)



Molasses Crackle Cookies

2-2/3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup stick margarine, softened (I’ve also used butter)

4 Tablespoons molasses

1 large egg

granulated sugar for rolling (I have also used red sugar around holiday times)

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Cream brown sugar, margarine, molasses, and egg. Add dry ingredients and mix until blended. Gently press mixture into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill two hours.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

3. Shape dough into smooth, small balls (about 3/4 inch in diameter), then roll in granulated sugar. Place balls 3 inches apart on a baking sheet (I line with parchment paper). Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from pan then cool on a wire rack.

Yield: approximately 6 dozen cookies – I know it sounds like a lot but they go fast, and they are a favorite among friends who receive them for gifts!


  1. amber says:

    Molasses Crackle! That sounds yummy!

    And whatever you decide with publishing, I’m sure you’ll do well. 🙂

  2. Julie Luek says:

    Oh glad for the recipe– thank you. I love molasses anything! Yummo cookies.

  3. Yum! Those look great. It’s difficult to focus on writing and/or publishing this time of year, isn’t it? There is always so much other stuff to do. If you would like some info on self-publishing or to pick my brain (at least what little there is left), drop me a message. I’d love to help.

    • Thanks so much, Karen! It really is hard to focus, isn’t it?! And thank you for the self publishing offer of support and information, much appreciated (and you’ll be hearing from me… most likely after the holidays 🙂

  4. Baking seems like a great way to be productive while you mull things over. My two cents… publish your mystery. Your readers are waiting for it! 🙂

  5. You are a bad, bad woman, tempting me to bake again, when this year I was planning to take the season “off.” I’m now hunkering to make chocolate raspberry thumbprints and layer bars that have a host of goodies in them (coocnut, black raspberry jam, white chips, choc chips, heath bar pieces, oatmeal crumble…) My mouth is watering!

    I hope things settle for you. If they don’t, there’s always a baking sheet at hand, right? 😉 BUT I know you’ll figure things out with your writing. Patience, grasshopper. Patience. I’m so impressed with your writing proclivity (and diversity)!

    • Sorry to tempt you… but wow, you’re right, those cookies you’re thinking of baking sound DELICIOUS! Thanks for your writing support, Melissa; it’s always nice to know my friends have faith in me 🙂

  6. I’m aimlessly sitting here because I have my limbs in too many pots, too. (Too many pots boiling? Can’t remember what the metaphor is.) Thanks for the reminder that the answer is always–cookies!

    • Too many hands in the pot? Too many pots on the stove? I can’t remember either, but YES, exactly the thing. And I’m sticking with my original prescription: baking cookies! Let me know how it goes for you!

  7. Julia, this sentence: “So this weekend I did what any sensible uncertain person with too much to do does—I baked cookies,” could be my life motto. =D I feel your overwhelmed-ness, and I 100% support your decision to stop and bake cookies. That’s always my choice, too. Best of luck with your writing decisions, and I hope you have a lovely holiday.

  8. Barb Riley says:

    “And just know you’re not alone.” I love to read your posts for this reason. 🙂 I’m having a halfway season: halfway knowing it’s time to go back to work; halfway scared to leave the life of a SAHM and writing-whenever-I-want-to behind. In the meantime: I’m off to print the cookies recipe. They look delicious!

    • Oh Barb, you’re most certainly not alone! I remember feeling the way you do so well — it truly is a halfway season for you. It’s a hard transition, I know. And I think bakings cookies might be just the ticket to helping work through it! Let me know what you think of them. Sending hugs your way, my friend!

  9. Leah says:

    I can’t wait to make these! They are the perfect compliment to my holiday cookie baking list.

  10. I think this strange weather is affecting all of our Christmas moods. Wishing you many cozy nights with MEH and the black lab! Can’t wait to try out this recipe. I’ve been including molasses in things to boost my iron, so it’s perfect!

    • Maybe it is the weather… and wishing YOU many cozy nights as well. And a very merry first Christmas! How wonderful! Glad to provide you with another way to boost your iron… and I say if you have to have molasses, it might as well be in cookies!

  11. Ann says:

    Well, it does seem to be a wishy-washy month, but celebrating two holidays is lovely….. I’d worry about the credit card and have another cookie! Good luck with the decision on the publishing! Scary and exciting at the same time!

    • I never found the credit card, Ann… so irritating. I know it never left the house, but where is it? I’ll need to request a duplicate. The funny thing is, this all started because MEH’s credit card of the same account broke in half — maybe during the bike mishap, who knows! I’ll keep you posted on the publishing, thanks for the well wishes 🙂

    • Ann says:

      Did you find it? Or have to call your bank and get them re-issued? That’s always a pain! Any word on your publishing decision? I’ve been thinking of you….

  12. One of my friends recently self-pubulished a couple of her books. She’s perfectly happy with her decision, and I’m sure you will be too, Julia. It just lends itself to certain genres: romance and mystery both seems to do very well.
    Hope you find the missing card.
    Those cookies look good!

    • I’m happy to hear of your friend’s happy decision. I know I’ll feel fine once I make the decision, it’s just nervewracking to look at it from every point of view, and I have a tendency to over analyze just about everything anyway… I agree that self pubbing does lend itself well to mystery, and that’s why I’m considering it! Speaking of mysteries, still no sign of the disappearing card… maybe that can be Maggie True’s next mystery 🙂

  13. I hope you’re feeling a little more grounded this week. I know that feeling, when everything just feels up in the air, and it’s really difficult to know how you feel about anything (other than stressed). Looking back I’ve realized that those are also the moments right before things start to get a little clearer. I hope it’s the same for you! Sending hugs your way 😉

    And P.S. YUMMMMY ! I followed your pictures on instagram with much interest this weekend 🙂

    • Things are getting better! And I’m starting to get some clarity about all kinds of things… yes, I agree when things feel up in the air, it’s hard to feel anything else than stressed. Thanks for the support, encouragement and hugs, Natalia!

  14. Nina B says:

    I love when people (like you and especially people live near me) start going crazy with the cookie baking in December. It’s the best time of year for a cookie lover. Yum!!!!

    • Wish I lived in your neck of the woods–would definitely be over in a hop, skip, and a jump with a tin of cookies. The crazy baking will begin in earnest with my daughter getting home in two days!