During this past winter break at home, I visited a close friend of mine who has a sister. While waiting for my friend, I chatted with her sister and told her about this blog. She saw some of the recipes I had done and mentioned that her family had a great recipe for molasses cookies. I immediately asked her for the recipe as I still had an excess of molasses from baking gingerbread cookies for the holidays that I had no idea what to do with.
A few days later, she sent me the recipe and I’ve just now been able to try it out. I was at first a little skeptical about the recipe as I’m not a huge fan of molasses and am unfamiliar with its taste and use in baking. But I had promised that I would make these and I’m definitely glad that I did.
These cookies are very tasty. They are so fragrant but not overwhelming. The hints of cinnamon and ginger are tempered with the molasses and sugar, making a spicy yet sweet flavor with a delightfully salty aftertaste. The dough was also a wonder to work with, coming out moist and soft yet not at all sticky. Crunchy on the outside yet chewy and textured in the middle, these molasses cookies are perfection!
The following is the message my friend included when she sent me the recipe:
“This truly is a beloved ‘family recipe.’ In my mom’s cookbook these are called ‘Joan’s Ginger Cookies,’ but they taste more like molasses, and we got the recipe from Kate. (We don’t know who Joan is.) When Charlotte and I were in elementary school, my mom used to make the full recipe (you’lll see how much it is!) and we would come home to piles and piles of fresh, chewy, fragrant molasses cookies…”
5 1/8 cups oil
8 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups molasses
4 1/4 lb. flour (1 lb flour = 3 2/3 cups)
5 tablespoons baking soda
4 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Thoroughly mix oil and sugar.
2. Add eggs and beat well. Stir in molasses.
3. Sift dry ingredients, then add. Roll into balls in your hand, then in sugar.
4. Bake about 12 minutes at 350 degrees on greased cookie sheets.
As you can see, the original recipe makes a huge amount of cookies! For my batch, I quartered and then halved the recipe and got about 2 dozen medium-sized cookies. These cookies would be best if they were baked to be bigger so they can retain some of their chewy middle better.
I didn’t have ground ginger so I substituted in fresh grated ginger instead, using a little more than what the recipe calls for. I think the fresh ginger definitely livened up the flavors of the cookie a little more!
Straight out of the oven these cookies are wonderfully chewy in texture and so fragrant! After awhile though, they do get deceptively hard; they seem to hardened a lot after cooling but are not actually as hard as they look and feel. I would under-bake these cookies by about a minute or two to yield softer, chewier cookies.
I might also play around with substituting the oil with butter and see how that turns out. Rest assured though, these cookies are very well rounded and you don’t even need the extra buttery taste.
For other embellishments, I would consider topping these with candied ginger or sprinkling some coarse sugar on top. For even a sweeter cookie rolling the balls of dough in cinnamon-sugar would be nice as well.
May 8th, 2009: I recently made these again with a minor change to the recipe. Instead of using the full amount of sugar as originally stated in the recipe, I reduced the amount of sugar by a fourth and substituted in brown sugar instead. This makes the cookies much softer and moist!