molasses spice cookies


To be honest, I really do not want to share this recipe. What I actually want is to hold this recipe hostage, guarded in a locked safe to which only I know the combination, and never allow another pair of eyes to read it. Why so greedy protective? My Molasses Spice Cookies are the cookies most adored by my family, friends, and teachers; they are the recipe I am known for, like some bakers are known for their apple pie, brownies, or chocolate chip cookies. Because the spicy, rich cookies are so popular–my thing–, I have a strong desire to keep the recipe a secret. Then I remember how I came to have the recipe: my grandma, Grandma Ann, passed on her famous Molasses Crinkles recipe to me (along with a handful of her other celebrated recipes). With just a few adaptations, I transformed my grandma’s traditional recipe into a recipe of my own. My grandma, without hesitation, shared her prized recipe with me (thank you, Grandma!), so I feel that I have an obligation to share my recipe with all of you. And, plus, the more molasses spice cookies in the world, the better!

Molasses Spice Cookies recipe originally from Grandma Ann

These cookies are crispy on the edges, but totally soft in the middle. They have a deep, rich, sophisticated flavor from full flavor molasses, vanilla extract, and three spices: cloves, cinnamon, and ginger.

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened (I often bake these cookies as a treat for my classmates and teachers; one of my teachers is allergic to dairy products, so I use Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks in place of the butter.)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup full flavor molasses (I use the brand Brer Rabbit.)
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger (A pinch more ginger, or cloves or cinnamon, is just fine!)
  • Granulated (white) sugar
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cream butter (or Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks) and brown sugar until well combined and light in texture.
  3. Beat in egg, vanilla extract, and molasses until thoroughly incorporated with the butter and brown sugar.
  4. Stir in dry ingredients–no need to sift–until dough forms.
  5. I do not refrigerate the dough, which is generally very sticky after forming; if the dough is just too sticky to handle, it can be refrigerated. However, I do my best to work with the stickiness. Scoop dough, I use a 2 teaspoon ice cream scoop, and roll (all sides) in granulated sugar.
  6. Place sugar-coated dough balls on a lightly greased baking sheet. (To produce a “crinkle” effect, my grandma flicks the dough with water. However, I have found that this is not necessary to produce a “crinkle” effect. If your cookies are not “crinkling,” try lightly flicking the dough balls with water.) Bake for 9 minutes, or until the cookies are set–but not hard. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes (only until they are transferable) before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.


What recipes are you known for? 


4 responses »

  1. Abby, I have been making cookies from this exact recipe (except no cloves) for many years–so long that I do not remember where I found the recipe. It was the recipe I contributed to the cookbook compiled by my son’s third-grade class (and he is now 39, so you know I have been making these cookies for a long time!). Have you ever tried rolling them in special (large grain) baking sugar? I just bought some of this sugar at the King Arthur Flour Store in Norwich, VT, and I sprinkled it on scones I baked yesterday.

    • These cookies are unforgettable, as I am sure you know! I have never tried rolling the cookies in large grain baking sugar (is this similar to turbinado sugar?). Does it give the cookies more of a crunch?

  2. Abby, My mother used to make molases cookies and I wish I had her recipe so I could compare. They sound so good. In fact, My parents (your great grandparents from your mother’s side) raised sugar cane, cut it down and with a machine got the juice from the cane. Then they cooked the juice and made molasses. I was quite young when this was down but it was a fun day for my siblings when this was happening. When my Dad cut the cane, we liked to ride on top of the cane on the wagon. O course the wagon was drawn by horses. We had so much fun. Getting back to your cookies keep on baking them—I am sure they are very good.

    Love you,
    Grandma eckerle

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