This vintage molasses cookie recipe is a timeless classic, offering a unique blend of soft and crisp textures. With a rich molasses flavor, these cookies are dense and chewy on the inside, with soft yet crisp edges, making them a perfect treat for any occasion.
Try this old-fashioned molasses cookie recipe for a sweet trip down memory lane with flavors that will remind you of your Grandma’s gingerbread cookies. These old-fashioned molasses cookies are sure to bring a touch of nostalgia to your kitchen with their soft, chewy texture that will have you reaching for seconds.
If you love desserts flavored with molasses, you should also try my molasses cake. And for similar cookies with a more ginger flavor, try these delicious ginger snap cookies. Or you can also go for the classic gingerbread cookies for the perfect combination.
This recipe was found in a vintage Beta Sigma Phi dessert cookbook published in 1968. I found this cookbook at a garage sale and it is PACKED with recipes so I’ve had fun finding hidden treasures like this recipe.
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Why I Love This Recipe
- Surprisingly Simple: This recipe is foolproof even if you’re not a seasoned baker. The process is straightforward to follow for delicious results every single time.
- Unforgettable: The unique blend of spices and molasses creates a flavor that is truly memorable. One bite and you’ll be hooked!
- Comforting: There’s something incredibly comforting about a warm, chewy cookie. This recipe is the epitome of comfort food.
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- Shortening: This fat source helps to make our soft molasses cookies tender and flaky.
- Salt: A pinch of salt enhances the flavor of the other ingredients, making the cookies more flavorful.
- Cinnamon: This warm spice adds a comforting, old-fashioned flavor to our molasses cookies recipe.
- Ginger: Ground ginger gives a spicy kick to the cookies, and complements the sweetness of the molasses.
- Light Brown Sugar: This sweetener adds a rich, caramel-like flavor to the cookies and contributes to their chewy texture.
- Molasses: The star of the show, molasses gives our cookies their distinctive, robust flavor and dark color.
- Egg: The egg acts as a binder, holding all the ingredients together and adding moisture to the dough.
- All-Purpose Flour: This is the base of our cookie dough, providing structure to the cookies.
- Baking Powder: This leavening agent helps the cookies rise, making them light and fluffy.
- Cinnamon and Granulated Sugar: Used for dust on top of the cookies, they add a sweet, spicy finish that takes these old-fashioned cookies to the next level.
- Large Bowl – You’ll need this to mix the shortening, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, brown sugar, molasses, and egg until well blended, then stir in the flour and baking powder for your soft molasses cookie dough.
- Baking Sheet – This is where you’ll drop leveled tablespoon dough balls of your old-fashioned molasses cookies, ensuring they’re spaced 2 inches apart.
- Spoon – A simple spoon is essential to mix all your ingredients together in the large bowl and to scoop out the cookie dough onto the baking sheet.
- Cooling Rack – After baking, you’ll need this to let your cookies cool and firm up a bit, enhancing their chewy texture and allowing the flavor to fully develop.
How to Make Vintage Molasses Cookie Recipe
Start by preheating your oven to 350˚ F. This will ensure your oven is at the right temperature when you’re ready to bake your soft molasses cookies.
Step 1 – Mix the Ingredients
Combine shortening, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, brown sugar, molasses, and egg in a large bowl. Stir these ingredients until they are well blended. Next, stir in the flour and baking powder to form your cookie dough. This step is crucial to achieving the chewy texture and rich flavor of old-fashioned molasses cookies.
Step 2 – Shape the Dough
Using a tablespoon, drop leveled spoonfuls of the cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet, ensuring they are spaced 2 inches apart. This will allow the dough balls to spread out as they bake without sticking together.
Step 3 – Flatten the Dough Balls
Lightly flatten each dough ball using your fingers that are slightly wet. This will give your molasses cookies their classic, slightly crinkled appearance.
Step 4 – Add the Finishing Touch
Sprinkle your cookies with a mixture of cinnamon and granulated sugar. This will add a touch of sweetness and spice to your molasses cookie recipe.
Step 5 – Bake
Place your cookies in the preheated oven and bake for 12-14 minutes. Bake until they are perfectly chewy and delicious. Since the cookies are a dark color, it’s hard to know when they’re done. Look for slight cracking around the edges.
Step 6 – Cool
After baking, let your cookies cool on a cooling rack. Cooling on a rack prevents them from becoming too soft and will preserve their chewy texture. Once cooled, your soft molasses cookies are ready to enjoy!
Lightly wet your fingers before pressing the dough down before you pop the cookies in the oven for baking. You want the dough to be about ¼ centimeter high for the perfect thickness.
- Light Molasses: For a less rich flavor in your old-fashioned molasses cookies, use light molasses instead of dark in this molasses cookies recipe.
- Almond Center: After forming your cookie dough into dough balls, press a blanched almond into the center of each cookie for a surprising crunch.
- Extra Sugar and Cinnamon: If you prefer a crispy texture on top of your soft molasses cookies, dust them with additional sugar and cinnamon before baking.
What to Serve With
- For a cozy morning treat, pair these old-fashioned molasses cookies with a hot cup of coffee. The robust flavor of the coffee complements the sweet and chewy texture of the cookies, making for a perfect start to your day.
- If you’re in the mood for a dessert, serve these soft molasses cookies with a scoop of your favorite ice cream. The cold, creamy texture of the ice cream contrasts beautifully with the warm, chewy cookies.
- For an afternoon pick-me-up, enjoy these molasses cookies with a cup of tea. The subtle spices in the cookie dough, like ground ginger and cinnamon, pair wonderfully with a strong, aromatic black tea or a light, refreshing herbal tea.
- These molasses cookies also make a great snack on the go. Simply pack a few in a small container or wrap them in a napkin, and enjoy these delicious treats wherever your day takes you.
Molasses cookies taste like a softer, subtler version of gingersnaps due to the use of cinnamon, ginger, and dark molasses.
For this recipe, you can use any type of molasses that you have on hand. However, for the best flavor, I recommend using dark molasses as it gives the cookies a rich, deep flavor that pairs well with the ground ginger and cinnamon.
The key to making chewy molasses cookies is not to over-bake them. Bake for 12-14 minutes, and they will still be soft when you take them out of the oven. As they cool, they will firm up but remain chewy.
Yes, if you’re planning to bake the cookies within a few days, you can chill the cookie dough in the refrigerator. This not only helps to preserve the dough but also enhances the flavor of the old-fashioned molasses cookies.
The soft texture of these cookies stems from the shortening. Butter results in a more flaky and dense cookie. Both are equally delicious but the texture will be different if you use butter instead of shortening.
Storing and Reheating
- Fridge: Once your soft molasses cookies are baked and cooled, store them in an airtight container at room temperature. They’ll stay chewy and delicious for up to 3 days.
- Freeze: If you have leftover cookie dough from this molasses cookie recipe, you can roll it into dough balls and freeze them. They’ll keep well for up to 3 months in an airtightly sealed container. When you’re ready to bake, just let them thaw in the refrigerator before proceeding with the recipe.
More Vintage Cookie Recipes You’ll Enjoy
- What to Expect: This old-fashioned molasses cookies recipe yields about two dozen soft molasses cookies, each packed with the warm flavor of ground ginger and cinnamon.
- How to Scale: If you want to make more than two dozen cookies, you can double the recipe and follow the instructions as directed. Just ensure you have a large enough bowl to mix the cookie dough properly and enough space to chill the dough balls.
- ½ Cup shortening
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- ½ Cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ Cup molasses
- 1 large egg
- 2 Cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon for dusting cookies before baking
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar for dusting cookies before baking
- Preheat your oven to 350˚ F.
- Mix shortening, salt, cinnamon, ginger, brown sugar, molasses, and egg until well blended. Stir in flour and baking powder.
- Drop leveled tablespoonfuls of dough onto a greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Lightly flatten using your fingers that are slightly wet. Sprinkle cookies with a mixture of cinnamon and granulated sugar.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes. Let cool on a cooling rack