My Grandma’s Molasses Cookies



Cookies and Milk

This is one of my favorite cookie recipes ever, for a few different reasons. First of all, they are just great cookies, rich with the flavors of molasses and ginger and cinnamon and sugar. Second, they are a snap to make, and they turn out perfectly every time. But most importantly, I make them from a recipe card handwritten by my grandmother, one of the most amazing people I have ever known. I don’t remember her as being particularly interesting in cooking, but what she made, she made well. I have a crystal-clear memory of being sent outside to play in the mornings on her beautiful Vermont farm with two slices of hot buttered cinnamon toast – one for each hand — and I have never been able to replicate the particular taste of that toast. She made fantastic pancakes (with Vermont maple syrup of course), and always said she would make as many as we could eat, even if it was HUNDREDS, which my brother and I thought was one of the best things we had ever heard of.

She also made these perfect molasses cookies, and luckily for me at some point she wrote out the recipe for me, in her handwriting that I remember so well right to this day. I don’t know why I don’t make them more often, but every once in a while something reminds me of them and I just have to have them. The other day I was at Sissy’s Kitchen, which is fittingly in my grandmother’s Vermont town of Middletown Springs, and Sissy had a jar of something labeled “Gingersnaps.” 25 cents each. I bought — well, never mind how many.


Sissy's Cookies

There they are in that jar in the middle. And while Sissy may think they are gingersnaps, they tasted very much like my grandma’s molasses cookies, and to be eating them right in the middle of Middletown Springs…well, let’s just say it took me back a little.

And so here I am back from vacation in New Jersey, and one of the first things I wanted to do was find that recipe and make those molasses cookies. Sure enough, they were as sweet and spicy and dependable and wonderful as ever. Just like my Grandma.

Cookies Cooling
 
My Grandma’s Molasses Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon each of ground cloves, ginger and salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Extra sugar for rolling
Instructions
  1. Combine butter, sugar, molasses and egg in large mixing bowl
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and spices in medium bowl
  3. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir until well combined
  4. Put in refrigerator until dough has hardened.
  5. Scoop out dough (I find an ice cream scoop works well for this) and roll into 1 inch balls
  6. Roll balls in sugar and place on cookie sheet, well-spaced apart
  7. Press down slightly on cookie dough with the bottom of a glass or jar
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Cool on rack.

Comments

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  1. FoodTravelDiva says

    Isn't it wonderful when good recipes can be passed from generation to generation?! I'm inspired to try those cookies. If you don't mind I'd love to direct our Foodista readers to your blog. Just add your choice of widget to this post and you're all set!

  2. d says

    Just found you smugmug site and checked out your blog…These all make me sooo want to get in the kitchen, everything looks so good. The photo of the food look so good! Whats in your camera bag? I can't wait to try some of your recipes… thanks for sharing! I love photography and cooking too!

  3. Kate Morgan Jackson says

    Thanks so much! I shoot with a Nikon D700, usually with a 105mm lens, and either natural light or with my Impact cool lights, which give off a great daylight look. Glad you like the cookies!

  4. jenny says

    i think everyone has a grandma's molasses cookie recipe. your's is just like mine =) i love them. and i love your photos, too!

  5. ellie jacques capon says

    Kate,
    I was just searching for a molasses cookie recipe. I am at a friend's and don't have my grandmother's (!) recipe with me. How delightful to have found not only your recipe but this fantastic blog. Can't wait to explore! Have a great day and thanks for sharing…

  6. Kate Morgan Jackson says

    Thanks so much for all these comments! It makes me so happy that my grandma's cookies are finding their way to so many great folks. :-)

  7. julie329 says

    Oh Yay! My grandma's molasses sugar cookie recipe uses Crisco which I am moving away from. These are almost identical, so look like a fabulous alternative. Thank you!

    Wonderful wonderful photos too.

  8. Anonymous says

    I've been trying out different molasses cookies for 3 years now. I've never been 100% satisfied. I am 99.9% satisfied with these fantastic cookies. Only a little disappointed in how flat they baked, maybe ill add less butter next time. Every person who tried the cookies said more than "love" they wanted to know when I was making again…the flatness and everything. WOW thank you for the great recipe.

  9. Anonymous says

    This is amazingly the same exact recipe and instructions that are on the back of the Golding Farms Molasses bottle…

  10. theUngourmet says

    I stumbled onto your blog while looking for a molasses cookie recipe to make for my son. Great blog you have here! :)

  11. Candyco says

    I made the Grandma's Molasses cookies and they are so delicious! There are so many wonderful recipes on this site and the photography is very nice also.Thank you for sharing.:-) Angela

  12. LynnieBNC says

    I LOVE THIS! This is the exact recipe that my mother-in-law gave my husb, hand written. It is ALSO the very same recipe on the molasses bottle (not the bunny one). Nonetheless, EVERYONE raves about these cookies!!! They are just perfect!

  13. LynnieBNC says

    PPS we also don't flatten them, they do it themselves, and they are a LITTLE bit chewier rather than crispier. MMMMMMM I want to make some NOW!

  14. Robert says

    This is not the cookie my grandmother made. They were smooth on top and very chewey. Think she used blackstrap molasses. Put in refrigerator over night until cold. Used crisco. Have tried many different recipes all have cracks on the top. Hers were shiney and smooth. can you make any suggestions

  15. Anonymous says

    Ok, so your backstory on the handwritten recipe card got me! I made these cookies and stuck to the recipe to the letter out of respect to you and your grandmother! I took the cookies to a pool part at a friend's house. A seventy year old man told me he hadn't had cookies that delicious since his mother died. I made him his own batch the next day. Thank you, and thanks to your grandmother!
    Greg Smith

  16. Anonymous says

    I'm in love with Framed! I've never baked molasses cookies before, a friend requested them. After baking the Believe Cake 5 times now (requested constintly)I came here for a molasses cookie recipe. My husband who thinks the cookies are chocolate chip cookies. . . until he had Grandma's Molasses Cookies. He now requests these too. Thanks for all your great pictures, stories and recipes!

  17. Cate says

    I have been looking for a molasses cookie recipe like the kind I remember from my childhood. I remember them as being really dark. Would you use salted or unsalted butter in this? Have seen other recipes calling for oil. Your website is very attractive.

  18. Kate Morgan Jackson says

    I would use unsalted butter if you have it, although there is so little salt in the salted kind that it really won't make that much of a difference. Happy cooking!

  19. Anonymous says

    Hello. I love the recipe and the jars in your picture. Can you tell me where you got them?

    Thank you so much for a great recipe!

  20. Kate Morgan Jackson says

    The jars are actually at a store that I visited, so I'm not sure where she got them – but I have similar ones that I found at the Container Store. They have a great website, so give them a try!

  21. bethsheba says

    I just salivate over every recipe you post and look forward in anticipation
    To your next blog to see what recipe we will get. I also just think those
    Cookie jars are so elegant, do you know were to purchase them ?

  22. Alex Bard says

    You know, these are the only cookies that I ever make now, because I've become famous for them. They are seriously the best. Thanks!

  23. Mary says

    I just wanted to let you know… I just made these cookies (literally, they're still on the cooling racks) and I think I just discovered the true meaning of Christmas :) Thank you!
    Oh! And I'm going to feature these in my 12 Days of Christmas Cookies over at maryweise.com, if that's ok! I'll definitely be crediting you and linking back :)

  24. Kate Morgan Jackson says

    @Anonymous: they make about 24 cookies, depending on how big or small you make the dough balls

    @Mary: I think they smell like Christmas too! Happy to have you feature them.

    @Alex: This is a great cookie to be famous for, and love the hat!

    @ Everyone who asks about the cookie jars: The Container Store.

  25. Anonymous says

    Sorry, but my batch of cookies turned out like pralines. Too much butter, not enough flour. Like my cookies a little thicker.

  26. Anonymous says

    I wanted to make molasses cookies because I had molasses and I don't like molasses cookies, so Christmas was the perfect excuse to bake a bunch and give them away. Unfortunately, I found these cookies to be way too yummy to give them ALL away. Your Grandma did good. Thanks for passing along! -Martha

  27. Renee, Your Sweet Tooth Therapist says

    I'm about to make these cookies, or some variation of them, for my hubby who out of the blue requested molasses cookies. Not sure where that came from, as he's never asked for them before, but yours look devine. If I get a minute I'll be sure to blog about it at sweettooththerapy.blogspot.com Thanks for sharing such a great blog post.

  28. Anonymous says

    I wanted to thank you for sharing this delicious recipe! My husband always talks about the molasses cookies that his grandma used to make, so I wanted to find a grandma's recipe! He loved them! Thank you!

  29. FramedCooks says

    I'm so glad that everyone is continuing to love these cookies! I might have to make another batch this weekend…it will be my millionth one, but who's counting?? :)

  30. Anonymous says

    So, I made these cookies before, and they turned out awesome. Everyone raved! But the second time I made them, they got seriously flat and basically like a crisp. I did the same thing both time, triple checked my measurements.. what went wrong!

  31. ella :) says

    i had a HUGE craving for molasses cookies last night and wanted to make them for my Bible study– so I googled "molasses cookies" and read several different recipes but liked your sweet grandma's the best—– I was NOT disappointed! THEY ARE AMAZING!!!!!!!! and i'm SO GLAD i had leftovers!!!!! THANKS for sharing such a treasure of a recipe. :)

  32. FramedCooks says

    Ella and Yolanda: I'm so glad – and I know my grandma would be too!

    Anon: Oh dear…the only thing I can think of is that maybe the dough didn't get hard enough? I hope you'll try them again!

  33. Anonymous says

    One good trick from my mom's molasses recipes that can be applied here too:
    Instead of putting the mixture in the fridge in a bowl, split the mix in two and wrap them in foil, forming them like a sausage…this way, when it hardens, you can cut them with a butter knife and have a perfect shape. You can keep the second "sausage" for another day…these cookies are soooo good warm out of the oven I like to always eat fresh batches. Thanks so much for sharing…

  34. ElisabethSpace says

    Oh, my, I can't wait to make these. My tastebuds believe that molasses cookies are some of the most underrated cookie ever and would enjoy finding them in more glass jars around town. I love how you liken these cookies to your grandmother with the last sentence. :)

    Today is my grandma Millie's 91st birthday, so this post resonants with me greatly. I can envision the recipe card I have in her handwriting for Petits Choux (straight outta Betty Crocker, btw), something we make together every Christmas.

  35. Anonymous says

    my husband asked for molasses there his favorite i make cookies all the time but never molasses. but after reading your blog tomorrow will be the day. i'll get back and let you know how it went

  36. Joanne Travis says

    I made a batch to send to my Dad and they disappeared before I got the chance to package them up! Just made another one tonight and am guarding it :)
    The family's favorite recipe of the season. Thanks for sharing!

  37. Anonymous says

    My grandma used to make something very similar to this but they were chewy and smooth on the top. I have the "recipe" but i do not think it is complete. Ot inam doing it wrong. I have tried many different times and have not been able to get them right. Does anyone have any suggestions or recipes. We just called them night cookies. I am not a great baker so any suggesstions would be great.
    I can alos email the recipe

  38. TaosRob says

    At 8500 ft where we live most cookies spread too much. To remedy that problem we reduce the amount of sugar and fat.

  39. jen says

    Thank you for these wonderful cookies and simplistic recipe. I look for this EVERY year…I really should write this down :)

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