Molasses Cookies

It was the rare visit to Grandma Sara’s house when there wasn’t a plate of cookies to share, and if there wasn’t, profuse apologies would ensue. Molasses Cookies were in Grandma Sara’s heavy rotation. In fact, I have three separate recipe cards in her handwriting, and I remember asking her to write it for me a few times. On one of the cards, she wrote:

This is not Grandma Daisy’s but tastes as close to hers as I can find.

Grandma Daisy was her mother, my great-grandmother. So, I’m double-dipping in the grandma category, but more than that, I’m sharing a recipe that my own grandma really tried to make as close as possible to what her mother made. I think that’s cool.

This recipe makes a good-sized, soft, cake-y cookie. Anyone familiar with Pennsylvania Dutch or Amish cooking would recognize these.  These were never in anyone’s “Christmas cookie” repertoire, but were made year-round. Of course if you ask me, you could fill a tin of these, stick a bow on it, say “Merry Christmas,” and it would all be the same thing.

None of my recipe cards say how many cookies this recipe makes. I think it’s several dozen, but it’s been a while since I made them.  Now, however, these are on my brain, and this usually means I’ll have to make them soon. If I do, I’ll post pictures and update with quantity.

Molasses Cookies

1 cup margarine or butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup baking molasses
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 cup dairy sour cream
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg (for eggwash)

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add 1 egg and molasses and beat well. Add vinegar and sour cream and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, spices, baking soda and salt. Gently stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Do not overbeat.

Drop by teaspoon onto a greased cookie sheet (or you can use baking parchment). Allow room for them to spread.   Beat the other egg; using a spoon, press gently on top of cookie and spread a bit of egg on top. (Or, skip the egg and sprinkle with sugar… but I always remember egg on top of Grandma Sara’s cookies.)

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

These are great served warm and the way I see it, can also pass as something you might call “breakfast.”

4 thoughts on “Molasses Cookies

  1. I made these! At least, I thought I did. I have a recipe card Aunt Anne wrote out and it says they are Grandma Daisy’s, but the above recipe looks like different amounts to me.(but all the same ingredients) Anyhoo, in texture and appearance, they did not come close to passing as Grandma Sara’s, but the taste was pretty much right on target. Yummy! Great for breakfast with tea or coffee.

  2. Hi – made the recipe above last night. They’re good, but lighter and cakier than I remember.

    Here’s the recipe for the ones my mother makes – handed down I believe from great grandma Kreider. Don’t mean to steal your thunder – just wanted to share this version – darker, chewier, and lots of molasses flavor. Yum. Will be making these today!

    Drop Molasses Cookies

    1 Cup Brown Sugar (firmly packed)
    3/4 Cup Shortening (I use Crisco stick or in the can)
    1 Cup Brer Rabbit Molasses (Green Label)
    3/4 Cup Butter Milk (If I don’t have butter milk, I add a tablespoon of vinegar to the milk)
    1 Soup Spoon Baking Soda (this is an old, old recipe from great grandma so reason for soup spoon)
    4 Cups Flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    Brush top of cookies with yellow of egg

    I usually use 2 eggs and I add the white of the egg to batter

    Bake around 350 or 375 – adjust for your oven – about 10 minutes (also adjust) don’t bake too long as they will get too dry. I usually go by the way they look. You want them to look golden brown on top.


    1. Lin – so glad you found my blog and thank you so much for your version of this recipe! I can’t wait to try it. I’m actually baking this year on Christmas and/or the day after. Won’t have time before… but I figure, who wants to sort through week-old cookie crumbs on Christmas?

      Have a great time in CenPenn over Christmas!

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