Jane's Molasses Gingerbread Cookies

By • November 21, 2014 14 Comments

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Author Notes: These cookies are a recipe that my grandparents would made together -- my grandmother making the dough, and my grandfather supplying “the muscle,” as my aunt would say (it's a really stiff dough). G.G. called these Molasses Gingerbread Cookies, but I find that name misleading -- it suggests soft, round cookies with fractured and fissured tops. These are not that. The dough is pressed out of a cookie press into several long lines on the cookie sheet, and then cut into bite-sized pieces after the cookies are baked. Once cooled, they are very thin and crispy -- to me, that makes them ginger snaps.

A couple of notes: These cookies call for a cookie press, ideally a well-made metal one -- if using a less well-made plastic press, be sure to hold the top and the base together while pressing. Of course it's possible to make these without a cookie press too, just roll them out thinly and cut into strips (or use cookie cutters.)

The original recipe called for 1 full teaspoon of ground cloves. Over the years, my family has decided that we all like the cookies better with the cloves dialed back a notch.
Lindsay-Jean Hard


Makes more cookies than can be consumed in one sitting

  • 3/4 cup shortening or oleo
  • 1 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
  • 4 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Butter for greasing cookie sheets
  1. Heat oven to 375° F
  2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in a small bowl.
  3. In another bowl, combine the shortening, sugar, molasses, and egg.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix to combine.
  5. Put dough into a cookie press fitted with the wavy line plate (or one that looks like a row of diamonds next to each other), and press out the dough onto greased cookie sheets in long lines.
  6. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle with sugar immediately upon removal from oven. Cut the lines into cookies 1 1/2" to 2" in length, and let them cool on the cookie sheets until they firm up enough to move to a cooling rack.

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