Canadian actor Billy MacLellan is busy working in Toronto, but his heart is always in his home of Cape Breton. More specifically, in his grandmother's kitchen.
We're so very grateful that he's taken the time to share with us his loving memories of his Grandmother, Viola, and her cherished Christmas recipe for Ginger Molasses Cookies. Grab an apron & some kleenex.
I left my hometown of East Bay, Cape Breton when I was eighteen years old and moved to Montreal to study acting. Occasionally someone would ask the age-old, “If you could fly anywhere in the world, where would you go?” My answer was always the same, “My grandmother’s kitchen table.”
Now as lovely as that sounds, being a restless eighteen, I would come home for Christmas sit at my grandmothers table, be fine for 30 seconds and then wonder what my old friends in Cape Breton were up to. I’d ask to borrow my parents car and then be out-and-about for the majority of my visit.
For years that was my pattern.
Now I’ve been lucky in my travels that on two different occasions in my youth, life gave me a good hard shake and asked, “Is this the life that you want to be living?”
I went home for yet another Christmas and a good friend gave me this piece of advice, “Let your grandmother, be your grandmother.”
So this is what I did, I decided to take my visit “One Tea at a Time.” We would sit at the kitchen table & my grandmother would pour tea. I would get restless and I would tell myself, “Let’s just take this one tea at a time.”
Now this is what happened “O.T.A.A.T.”; an ordinary cup of tea turned into an opportunity to sit in one single moment. The tea turned into enjoying my grandmothers baking. The care, the thought and the energy that it took. She asked me if I wanted to learn, and I did, one tea at a time. The tea turned into learning how to bake, with my grandmother as my teacher. The tea turned into magic.
Over years & recipes our relationship grew. We would exchange recipes over the phone after I went back to Toronto. I would come back to Cape Breton with an agenda, “Gram, do you think you could teach me to make those Cinnamon Rolls?”
I had the honor of re-typing, enlarging & printing out my grandmothers recipe book when her eyesight started to fail her. I had the privilege of flying home and being “the muscle” when she wanted to bake bread and didn’t have the strength to knead the dough herself.
When she passed away last month my mother let me take her rolling pin back to Toronto. It is hand-carved and had been given to my grandmother by her mother.
So it is with great honor that I pass a recipe along to you. Take a minute to put the kettle on and bake them for someone you care about. Or even better...ask someone over for tea, bake them together. Take the time, create the magic, one tea at a time.
Billy can be seen this holiday SEAson the Hallmark Christmas movie CATCH A CHRISTMAS STAR
While you're hear check out our previous posts & video features on Billy MacLellan BILLY MacLELLAN The Expanse, Maudie & More, SABStv ONES TO WATCH 2015, and Billy's Cool People Profile by clicking here
3/4 cup margarine, melted
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup white sugar (for rolling)
Mix the melted margarine, 1 cup sugar, and egg until smooth.
Stir in the molasses.
Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger;
blend into the molasses mixture.
Cover, and chill dough for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Roll dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining white sugar.
Place cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until tops are cracked.
Cool on wire racks.