'Antique' Holiday Molasses Cookies




These are close copies of Archway molasses cookies. They're chewy, gooey, and a perfect addition to any holiday feast. The Pilgrims would have been a happier bunch if they'd had these laying around.

Original recipe includes this folk lore:

The known history of this recipe starts from eavesdropping on a party-line telephone during the early 1900s. The age of this recipe appears to explain many odd features. At the time, baking powder did not exist. Thus this recipe uses baking soda, with sour milk (now created via vinegar, so don't panic) as the acid. Ginger would have been expensive. The recipe originally called for an undefined amount of flour that turned out to be around 8 cups (1/2 gallon), which would feed a family of a dozen or so. The recipe has been cut in half for the benefit of less-productive parents.

Step 1: Ingredients

1/2 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 c milk (minus 1/2 T for the vinegar)
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c shortening (butter or lard will also work)
1 egg
1 c molasses
4 c flour (approximate upper limit; see instructions below)
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger

Step 2: Mixture #1: Shortening, Sugar, Molasses, and Egg

The batter for these cookies is mixed in 3 steps, the first of which is to combine all the gooey bits:

Cream the shortening and sugar in a large bowl. As you can see, an electric mixer isn't necessary, but it sure would be easier.

To this creamy white mixture add the molasses and egg. Combine thoroughly.

Step 3: Mixture #2: Flour, Baking Soda, Ginger, and Cinnamon

Mix the baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and 2.5 c (not all 4 c) of flour in a separate bowl.

Step 4: Mixture #3: Sour Milk

Combine the vinegar with enough milk to make 1/2 c (alternately, use buttermilk or real sour milk).

Step 5: Mix It All Together!

To the sugar+shortening+egg+molasses mixture, alternately mix in small amounts of the other two mixtures until everything is in one bowl. Mix this well.

Step 6: Add More Flour

Bit by bit, mix in more flour as needed. For drop cookies, you might not add any more. We usually add about 1/2 cup extra flour, but if you like a more cake-like cookie, you can add up to an extra cup. Look at the video for a consistency reference.

Step 7: Form the Cookies

Plop some batter onto a greased cookie sheet. Using a bit of sugar to prevent sticking, squish the cookie with a glass. If you want to ruin a perfectly good cookie, push some walnut pieces into the top of the cookie.

Step 8: Bake

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes at 375°F. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes on the pan before moving to a wire rack.



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    10 Discussions


    4 years ago

    I haven't made them yet but I got a laugh out of statement "if you want to ruin perfectly good cookies".

    Do you refer to them as ‘antique’ cookies because of how they look after baking or because of the age of the recipe? LOL


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Hello Ian, lovely recipe, a must try! The Karnemelk you refer to is actually "Buttermilk", the residue when butter are made. It have a lovely taste and I make rusks with it called "Buttermilk Rusks"

    Robot Lover

    9 years ago on Introduction

    I've had cookies, and have had molasses, but never together in one tasty treat! Great pictures and documentation! 5/5



    9 years ago on Introduction

    Good recipe.  I add 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves to make them a bit more spicier.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    "joe frogger" only has 126,000 google hits (and seems to be a massachusetts thing) while "molasses cookies" has 889,000.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    *looks at BabyBruschetta's post below, puzzled look arises over apparent hostility regarding the regional naming difference and folklore of a cookie...moves on*


    These are called Joe Frogger's cookies. I'd give you the background, but if you really care, you'll look it up. and, there's the whole, well screw you anyway factor as well. hard to get over that one.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Hmmm getting older means getting smarter..... Given a choice between a weekend in bed with my girlfriend having great sex, OR eating these yummy cookies with whipped cream..... The older smarter answer... I'll have both. : )


    12 years ago

    Nice. I can't help but thinking about those with chocolate chips.