Unlocking Grandma's Secret Recipes

Who Is Grandma on the Farm?
Unlocking Grandma's Secret Recipes
Unlocking Grandma's Secret Recipes

Grandma on the Farm is Janice Matulka, the grandmother of Catalyst Communications Network’s Head of Content, Brian Ethridge.

Matulka lived on a farm her entire life as a farm kid, farm wife and farm mom of five kids, 14 grandkids, 21 great grandkids and many great great grandkids to come. With such a big family, it’s no surprise that she learned how to become an amazing cook and baker; always impressing the family tree.

The problem? Those recipes are in her head and have never been written down ... until Ethridge convinced his grandmother he needed “help” keeping his job. What help was needed? He needed a monthly recipe to help round out AcreageLife magazine. (A little white lie never hurt anyone!)

Old-Fashioned Molasses Cookies

By Janice Matulka


½ cup butter

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup shortening

1 cup molasses

1 large egg

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger

¼ teaspoon cloves

Pinch of salt-granulated

Granulated sugar


Combine butter, brown sugar, shortening, molasses and egg in a bowl.

Beat at medium speed, scraping the side of the bowl often, until smooth. Add salt, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, baking soda and flour.

Divide the dough in half; wrap each half in plastic food wrap.

Heat the oven to 350.

Take one half of the dough and shape into ½ inch balls. Roll the balls in the granulated sugar.

Place the balls 2 inches apart, onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten balls to 2 ½-inch circles with bottom of a glass.

Bake 7-10 minutes or until done.

Christy’s Thoughts

After baking these cookies, I found them perfect for the holidays. The rich, spiced aroma that fills the kitchen as they bake is nothing short of magical. The combination of molasses and spices like cinnamon, ginger and cloves creates a warm, comforting flavor that is both nostalgic and timeless.

These cookies are not only delicious on their own, I also think they would make a crazy delicious whoopie pie with vanilla frosting. Imagine two soft and chewy cookies sandwiching a creamy, sweet filling — it’s an indulgent treat that would wow any gathering.

If you’re wondering why you don’t need to grease the baking tray, it’s because the dough has enough fat from the butter and shortening to prevent sticking, making the cookies even easier to bake.

What I love most about these molasses cookies is how they truly embody the warmth of Grandma Matulka’s kitchen. Each bite is a delightful blend of spices and sweetness.

These cookies are more than just a recipe — they are a piece of heritage, lovingly passed down through generations.

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Acreage Life is part of the Catalyst Communications Network publication family.