Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies (small batch)

Thursday 12 August 2021

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies 

The recipe I am sharing with you today for an Old Fashioned Molasses Cookie is one which has been in my family for years and years.  I fear if I don't document it here, it will be lost forever.

This is a tried and true (through several generations) recipe for old fashioned rolled molasses cookies. This is the recipe our great grandmothers would have used. It was certainly the recipe my great grandmother used.

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies 

The original recipe was written in my grandmother's hand written scrawl on the back of an envelope and tucked into my mother's old red Lawrencetown co-op cook book.  There were no instructions on how to make them.

No instructions on how to bake them, and the measurements for the ingredients were rather vague. For instance it says simply, enough flour to make a stiff dough.

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies 

It was very much taken for granted in those days that a girl would know how to cook, at least the most basic things anyways. Most were taught at their mother's knees how to do these things and they would have started cooking at a very young age.

I have many, many fond memories of my Grammy Woodworth making these cookies.  She would let me stand on a chair at the counter and help her. What a blessing to have these precious memories.

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies 

My mother, bless her heart, had not the patience nor the tolerance for little hands helping with the cooking. We were free to watch from a distance, but not to participate or to get in the way. 

That's just the way it was. We never questioned it, and we never minded enjoying the fruits of her labors.

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies 

Mom only ever really made two kinds of cookies. These and her Butterscotch Cookies. You can find that recipe by clicking on the name of the cookie.  They are a slice and bake cookie and very good. 

At Christmas she might bake us some shortbread cookies, and occasionally she would make her cousin Lydia's Junior Cookies. Again click on the name. These spicy drop cookies were always a real favorite of mine.

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies (small batch)

I checked online to see if there were many recipes for molasses cookies such as this one to be found.  All I found pretty much were recipes for the type you roll into balls and then into sugar.

These are the cookies I always knew as Molasses Crinkles.  If I had a dollar for every one of those I have baked through the years, I would be able to retire.

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies (small batch) 

They were a real favorite with my children, but then again so were these.  My father loves these as well. So he will help me to eat these for sure.

He has been asking me to bake him some molasses cookies for a few weeks now. I love that I am in a place now where I can do these things for my father.

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies (small batch) 

I can't really do much for my father as my sister does most of what he needs doing, but I can do the odd thing for him like this. 

Little things do mean a lot, and to be honest I suffer so much from arthritis it is probably better this way anyways, as much as I would like to do more.  My heart is willing and all that, but my body lets me down.

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies (small batch) 

I have some days when I can walk for England, and others where I can barely hobble from my chair to the bed. Getting older is not for the faint of heart, that's for sure.

I don't think the damp climate in the UK did me much good, so maybe it will improve now I am back here, or maybe the damage is done. Time will tell.

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies (small batch) 

Back to the cookies.  Mom always baked a tin of these when we came home for a visit. You could count on it, and they were one of the first things we looked for.

She would bake these cookies, and we could look forward to having home baked beans at least once, her homemade pea soup, (the French-Canadian version with the whole yellow peas) and wiener rolls.

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies (small batch) 

Weiner rolls were our family's version of sausage rolls.  Mom would make pastry and roll it out, cutting it into rectangles large enough to wrap around the wieners.

Each rectangle would be spread with North American mustard and then wrapped around the wieners, pressed shut and then baked until the pastry was golden brown.

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies (small batch) 

Oh but that wasn't half a treat for us! Oh my.  If wiener rolls were on the menu when I was a child, I was in seventh heaven.

I am going to make some tomorrow actually. My brother loves them as well, so tomorrow I am going to make some homemade baked beans (In the crock pot, a first for me) and weiner rolls. 

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies (small batch) 

Weiner rolls are not something any of us eat very often these days. Let's face it, you are taking fatty hot dogs (even though I use all beef) and wrapping them in something else fatty, so not the healthiest of foods.

None of that prepacked weiner wrap stuff for us!  We like them with real pastry.  It's the only way to go.

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies (small batch) 

I did make some wiener rolls a few weeks back when Eileen and Tim were coming over.  Our Eileen really loves them too, but never gets to have them.

They were a rare treat for both of us and Tim, too, although I did have to make his without mustard.

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies (small batch) 

Anyways, these cookies . . .  sorry I got distracted, which seems to happen very easily.  You will love these.  They are like soft molasses pillows.  Sweet bit not too sweet.

They go perfectly with cold glasses of milk but are as equally at home being dunked into hot cups of tea. I dare say they would even make great ice cream sandwich covers, if you know what I mean.

Two molasses cookies put together with a nice thick layer of vanilla ice cream in the middle. What could ever be wrong about that!!

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies (small batch)

Family food traditions are as individual as families, and every family has them.  My father's mother made them crepes instead of pancakes and they all loved to eat flaky pastry with Vachon caramel and thick cream.

What are some of your family food traditions?  I would be truly fascinated to hear them.  Lets share!!

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies (small batch)

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies (small batch)

Yield: Makes about 2 dozen cookies
Author: Marie Rayner
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 12 MinTotal time: 27 Min
Handed down through four generations of women in my family, this is the cookie that would have always held place of pride in the larder. Wonderfully fragrant when they are baking, a couple of these and a tall glass of cold milk are a truly special treat. I have small batched the original recipe.


  • 1/2 cup (95g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) molasses (see note)
  • 1/2 cup (110g) vegetable shortening, melted
  • 1 medium  free range egg
  • 2 teaspoons of ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda, stirred into 1/4 cup (60ml) of hot water
  • enough flour to make a stiff dough (approximately 2 - 2 1/2 cups/280g-330 grams)


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375*F/ 190*C. Lightly grease several baking sheets and set aside.
  2. Put the sugar and the molasses into a large bowl. Pour the hot fat over them and mix it all together very well. Allow it to cool until it is just warm to the touch and then beat in the egg. 
  3. Mix in the ginger and the salt, along with the water and soda. Stir in the flour a little at a time until it is all incorporated. No amount of flour was given in the original recipe but I find that it ranges anywhere between 2 and 2 1/2 cups. (not including the flour for rolling.)This seems to depend on the weather and humidity. Some days 2 cups is enough and others I need more. You need a dough that is pliable without being sticky.
  4. Dust the counter with some flour and roll out the dough with a floured rolling pin to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into rounds with a floured 3 1/2 inch fluted cookie cutter. 
  5. Place onto the greased baking sheets, leaving 2 inches of space in between each. Gather the scraps and re-roll until all the dough is used up. 
  6. Bake for approximately 12 minutes or until dry to the touch and lightly browned on the bottom. Don't overbake. They should be nice and soft to the bite. Delicious!


In the UK, molasses can be hard to come by. I find a suitable substitute to be to use half dark treacle and half golden syrup.

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  1. Molasses cookies are one of my favorites. Thanks, Marie!

  2. I've been looking for something like this recipe forever. This was a family favorite of generations and then I lost the recipe. The only thing I could recall was that it required a,covered with floured cloth, rolling pin and like 6-7 cups of flour and took all morning to bake after letting it get cold in the refrigerator for a while. It made tons of cookies. We all had multiple siblings and made enough for adults and 22 kids. Small batch is what I was looking for! Thank you.

    1. I really hope that you enjoy these and that they are a wonderful taste memory for you! You are welcome! xo

  3. You have 1 medium egg in ingredient list but say add ‘eggs’ in directions. Can you come firm it’s just 1 egg? Thank you, I’ve been looking for a recipe like this as my mom made similar cookies.

    1. Sorry, it is just one egg! -Marie

  4. Thank you for this recipe. My grandmother made cookies just like this. I had the recipe but lost it when my home was destroyed in a fire. Now I can make them for my grandchildren and I promise to pass the recipe on to my daughter.

  5. I hope you all enjoy the cookies! Sorry about your fire. xo

  6. Can you freeze these cookies after baking?

  7. My mother passed down a very similar recipe only difference was instead of ginger it was 1 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tsp of ground cloves. She got it from her mother who got it from her mother. They were English. Our family recipe has no measurements for flour either, it just says add slowly until the dough is stiff enough to roll. My mom used to make these for her father as he loved them.

  8. Originally from Maine and a lot of your recipes are recipes my mother made. Thanks

    1. There is a very close connection between Maine and Nova Scotia/NB. We are like the same people. I know half of my grandfather's sisters went down to the US to live after the Depression as did a lot of Maritimers. I have loads of relatives in New England. xo


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