Moravian Molasses Cookies

Baking molasses cookies reminds me of the many times I used to watch my mother and grandmother caramelized granulated sugar on the stove top. If my memory serves me correctly, I never saw commercial molasses in our house when I was growing up many decades ago.

My mother and grandmother used this sticky, gooey, dark-colored, homemade product to add color and probably flavor to main dishes. Rarely that I ever noticed them use it in baking.

That would definitely not be the case for someone growing up in Moravia, a part of the Czech Republic nowadays. Molasses is one of the key ingredients in making this traditional holiday cookies. People there serve these spice molasses cookies at Christmastime.

Many years ago in America, molasses cookies were also known as joe froggers. Ingredients for them are:

ingredients for molasses cookies

All purpose flour 2½ cups
Baking soda 1 tsp
Baking powder ½ tsp
Ground cinnamon 1 tsp
Ground ginger 1 tsp
Ground allspice ¼ tsp
Unsalted butter, room T. ½ cup or 1 stick
Firmly packed dark brown sugar 1/3 cup
Dark molasses 2/3 cup

This is an egg-free cookie recipe.

    creaming butter and brown sugar for molasses cookies

  • Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice together. Set it aside.

  • Cream room temperature butter, with an electric mixer on high speed, until pale yellow and fluffy.

    With molasses
  • Add brown sugar and continue beating until it is barely gritty when rubbed between your finger and thumb.

  • Gradually beat in molasses on low speed.

    Forming dough
  • Blend in the flour mixture with a spatula or wooden spoon.

  • Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours or overnight.

  • Rolling out dough
    When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper.

  • divide dough into 5 or 6 portions and work with one at a time while keeping the others refrigerated.

    Molasses cookies are ready for baking
  • Roll dough out to about 1/8-inch thick, and cut out cookies using a 2 or 2½-inch fluted or round cookie cutter. Re-roll the scrap.

    Molasses Cookies
  • Bake for about 6 – 8 minutes or until cookies are set. Cool on baking sheets on wire racks for a couple of minutes before carefully transferring them to racks to cool completely. Sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar if desired.

Keep these cookies in an airtight container. However, if they become soggy, place them on an ungreased baking sheet in a preheated 350 degrees F. oven for at least 5 but no longer than 10 minutes. Then remove and cool them on wire racks.

This recipe is adapted from one in Cookies. Williams-Sonoma. First Edition. Simon & Schuster Source. 2002

The answer for Recipe Comparison in Smart Cookies #007 is:

  • R1 yields soft and chewy molasses cookies,
  • R2, of course, yields crisp molasses cookies.

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