The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Mountain Family Holiday Recipes

By Susan M. Thigpen © 1986

Issue: December, 1986

Molasses Cookies

Recipe from Mrs. Lena Conner of Meadows of Dan, Virginia

We heard from our resident cookie expert (13 year old son Billy) that "the best molasses cookies in the world," were made by his friend Robbie's grandmother, Mrs. Lena Conner of Meadows of Dan, Virginia.

We called Mrs. Conner, who was happy to share the recipe, but said the credit should go to Mrs. Lillian Hylton, a neighbor, who gave her the recipe.

A recipe shared is a thing to be enjoyed and treasured forever....

"World's Best Molasses Cookies"

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups flour
(Mrs. Conner uses self rising).

Cream butter and sugar. Blend well. Add molasses, egg and vanilla. Combine soda, salt and flour. Add to first mixture. Mix well and shape into a roll. Roll it in waxed paper. Store in refrigerator all night. (Less time will do, especially if you have little ones hungry for them! Just chill until firm.)

Slice thin. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake in a 375 degree preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overcook.

You may wish to decorate these cookies for the holidays, or just enjoy them the mountain way with a cold glass of milk or dunking them in a hot cup of coffee.

Chocolate Chess Pie

Recipes from Gladys Moles Harris from the "Buffalo" section of Floyd County, Va.

4 eggs
2 1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour (regular, not self rising)
8 tablespoons cocoa
1 stick melted butter
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts

Mix all ingredients in order given.

Pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until set. Makes two pies.

Congo Squares

In a sauce pan melt 2 sticks butter. Add 1 pound light brown sugar. Let sugar mixture cool. After sugar mixture is cool, add 3 well beaten eggs. 2 3/4 cups regular (not self rising) flour and 2 teaspoons baking powder. Add 1 pound chocolate chips or any kind of chocolate. Add 1 cup pecans.

Be sure to mix well after adding each ingredient. Pour into a 9"x13" baking pan. Bake at 325 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

Spice Cake

(Recipes of the late Elva Culler of Laurel Fork, Va. Thanks to the family for sharing them.)

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sifted brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
3/4 cup sweet milk
2 tablespoons vinegar

Sift then measure flour. Sift again with baking soda, salt and spices. Cream butter until light and lemon colored. Add sugar gradually, beat after each addition. Slowly add eggs, after they have been beaten until they are almost as thick as whip cream. Combine vinegar and milk. Alternately add the dry and liquid ingredients. Beat until smooth after each addition. Turn into greased cake pan and bake in a moderate oven. Use an 8"x8" pan. Set oven at 350 degrees. Cook for 40 to 45 minutes.


(Delicious with the Spice Cake Recipe.)

4 tablespoons butter
2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla

Cream butter until very soft. Add sugar gradually, thinning with milk until it is of spreading consistency. Add vanilla and beat until smooth. Makes one cup frosting.


1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda (the old recipe of Elva Culler recommended "Cow Brand" baking soda)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses
3/4 cup boiling water

Sift, then measure flour. Sift three times with baking soda, salt and ginger. Cream shortening till light and fluffy. Add sugar gradually, beating after each addition. Add unbeaten egg and beat briskly. Add molasses, then add dry ingredients. Beat until smooth. Stir in boiling water. Turn into greased 8"x8" loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees oven for 30 to 40 minutes.