Jim and Pam Auchmutey are suited up for a neighborhood walk during the pandemic. “Friends have suggested we look like we’re getting ready to stage a holdup,” he said. CONTRIBUTED BY JIM AUCHMUTEY
While the Wren's Nest has been closed to the public during the pandemic, Auchmutey has been able to go and look through its historic treasures, occasionally coming across some oddities.
“We have a lot of very cool, very old archival stuff over there,” he said. “You open a box and you find a diary of Mrs. Harris’ from 1900, and stuff like that. So, I’ve been very interested in going through the archives, and helping to organize things. One day when I was there, I found this Brer Rabbit Molasses recipe booklet. It’s from about 1950. It’s called ‘Brer Rabbit’s Modern Recipes for Modern Living,’ and it’s got a ton of recipes in it.”
One of the recipes is for molasses cookies. Auchmutey and his wife, Pam, decided they would try it out for Easter; it also happened that Pam had some rabbit head-shaped cookie cutters in her collection.
After more research, Auchmutey discovered that Brer Rabbit Molasses was still available from B&G Foods. And, interestingly, the trademark was registered to Harris in 1907. However, the Auchmuteys couldn’t find the brand at their grocery store, so Pam used Grandma’s Molasses to make the cookies she calls Molasses Ginger Rabbits.
“It was amusing that Brer Rabbit Molasses is still around, and that we have this cookbook, and the recipes,” Jim said. “We had a lot of fun decorating the cookies.”
They nicknamed one cookie Blotto Bunny. “He’s what happens when a bunny drinks too much Red Hare stout,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Auchmuteys are staying busy during the pandemic, with Jim writing and doing online events, and Pam writing for various Emory University publications.
“Both of us want to keep working, but when we get past this thing, we want to travel more, and actually start acting like we’re semi-retired,” Auchmutey said. “We put on our masks when we go to the store and all that, but we have felt less quarantined than a lot of people, probably because we have been running over to the Wren’s Nest and checking on things.”
One more thing Auchmutey wanted to pass along: You still can find the Brer Rabbit recipe booklet for sale on antiquarian book sites and Amazon.
Pam Auchmutey cut the cookie dough with her rabbit-head cookie cutter. CONTRIBUTED BY JIM AUCHMUTEY
Molasses Ginger Rabbits
- 2¾ cups flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ginger (or more for a sharper taste)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅔ cup Brer Rabbit, Grandma’s or other good quality molasses (spray measuring cup with PAM to pour easily into other ingredients)
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- ½ cup shortening, melted
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Using a mixer, mix molasses with brown sugar, egg and shortening and then gradually add to dry ingredients to make a soft dough. Chill dough for 1 hour. Then roll dough on floured board and cut with floured cookie cutters.
- Bake on greased cookie sheet, or sheet lined with parchment paper, in moderately hot oven (350-375 degrees, depending on your oven) for 12 minutes. Let cookies cool and then decorate with cookie icing.
- Makes 15 cookies, using a large rabbit-head cookie cutter.
Nutritional informationPer serving:
Per cookie: 214 calories (percent of calories from fat, 34), 3 grams protein, 34 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 8 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 16 milligrams cholesterol, 92 milligrams sodium.
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