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My Great-Grandmother's Recipe for Molasses Cookies

Rhonda Crank

My great-grandmother, Ma Horton, made the best Molasses Cookies. Her recipe is one of the most treasured in our family. Her house always smelled like cookies and coffee. My mother once shared with me that one of her favorite memories as a child was going to Ma's house because she would say, "Go look in the pantry and get you a cookie." Since they made their own molasses, it was an ingredient that she always had on hand. Ma Horton taught my grandmother this recipe, my grandmother taught me, and now I'm going to share it with you.

Before we get going with the recipe, I wanted to clear up something. You remember the flavor of your old family recipes and when you make them, they are never quite the same, are they? Well, there's a good reason for that. Our great-grandmothers and for most of my grandmothers' lives, there wasn't any question about the purity of their ingredients. In the recipe, you will notice I say things like organic flour, real salt, coconut oil, organic butter, things of that nature. I do this so that you will know the ingredients that I use to get the equivalents of the ingredients she had. See our post, Is Your Food Really Organic, for more discussion about why your grandmother's recipes don't taste the same when you fix them. You may also want to see our post about the importance of using natural baking soda.

Molasses cookies have a very distinctive taste and some people don't care for them. Probably, it is the ginger in them that people don't really like. As for me, not only do the memories make them good, but the flavor and texture are spectacular, especially with a pot of coffee ... yum! So put on a pot of coffee, make your own batch of Ma Horton's molasses cookies, and enjoy the warmth that fills your home.

Ma Horton's Molasses Cookies 

Ma Horton's Molasses Cookies

4 cups organic, non-GMO flour
1/2 teaspoon real salt – this means kosher or sea salt (I use this one)
2 teaspoons natural baking soda
4  1/2 teaspoons organic cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground organic ginger
1/2 cup lard (organic) or coconut oil, melted (I use this coconut oil)
1/4 cup organic butter, melted
1  1/2 cups non-GMO, organic molasses
5 tablespoons hot water
Organic, non-GMO sugar for sprinkling tops of cookies

1) Preheat oven to 425 F.

2) In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together with a wooden spoon.

3) When well blended, pour in the oil, butter and the molasses and mix well. Now add the hot water and mix well again.

4) Let the dough rest in your bowl for 1 full hour. This is a very important step so don't shorten the time.

5) After the hour is up, take out a small portion, I usually do 1/5 of the dough at a time. Using a rolling pin, roll it out to between 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thick (I go closer to 1/8 inch).

6) Cut the cookies into round shapes. You can use a cookie-cutter, a jar lid, or a glass. Any dough left over after cutting, I roll up and add to the next portion. The last piece from the final portion gets shaped by hand and baked. We don't waste any of this delicious dough ... except for what I eat! :)

7) Place the cookie on a parchment lined cookie tray and sprinkle tops with sugar. Bake at 425 F for 7 minutes. Remove to cooling rack for cooling and enjoy!

  • This recipe makes about 30 cookies. It is easily doubled to make a larger batch.

  • For thicker cookies, don't roll out as thin.

  • You don't need to flour your surface to roll them out. The oil and molasses keeps them from sticking to the surface. Adding extra flour will change the texture of the cookie.

  • Be careful not to over bake, they burn easily.

Resting Molasses Cookie Dough

When I first started making these cookies, I thought I knew better than my grandmother so I skipped the 1-hour waiting. What a mess! The 1-hour waiting allows the baking soda to do its job and for the ingredients to set together well. You'll laugh at my cookie-cutter when I tell you that I use the ring to one of my canning jars to cut my cookies.

Thanks again for allowing me to share these family memories with you. I hope you and your family enjoy these cookies together over the holidays. Remember, I am always here to help you along on your journey, in any way I can .

Safe and Happy Journey,

Rhonda and The Pack