Jane's Molasses Gingerbread Cookies

November 21, 2014
1 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes more cookies than can be consumed in one sitting
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

What You'll Need
  • 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jara
  • Dianecpa
  • Cookie monster
    Cookie monster
  • Pork n' Tofu
    Pork n' Tofu
  • Lindsay-Jean Hard
    Lindsay-Jean Hard
I like esoteric facts about vegetables. Author of the IACP Award-nominated cookbook, Cooking with Scraps.

19 Reviews

bboop May 15, 2017
I probably did read it wrong, oooops, :-) LOVED your family story , pictures, so loving
bboop May 15, 2017
In your story, you say you could never get these to turn out right, then you figured it out, you had the wrong salt measurement. Loved this by the way.
Lindsay-Jean H. May 15, 2017
I think you might be thinking of a different story (the one behind these can be found here:, but regardless, I'm happy to hear that you like them!
bboop May 13, 2017
unless I am missing something? you mention never getting them right because of amount of salt? you don't have salt in the ingredients?
Lindsay-Jean H. May 15, 2017
I'm not sure what you're referring to about never getting them right, but you're correct, there's no salt in these.
Carol December 9, 2014
What type of shortening do you use?
Lindsay-Jean H. December 9, 2014
I use Crisco, but any brand would work.
Jara December 8, 2014
Made these with the kids. They were very soft to roll out, even after an hour of chilling. They were delicious, though.
Dianecpa December 5, 2014
And I cooked them on silpat....perfect!
Dianecpa December 5, 2014
The cookies are perfect....remind me of cinnamon graham crackers! I am making them for the second time so I can share them as Christmas gifts!
Lindsay-Jean H. December 5, 2014
Oh I'm so happy to hear they were a hit, thanks for sharing!
Janet December 3, 2014
Do you think coconut oil would work as a substitute for lard?
Lindsay-Jean H. December 4, 2014
I'm a vegetarian, so I've never used lard in these, although it would be a fine substitute for shortening. Coconut oil will change the flavor and texture, but there's no harm in giving it a go.
Jim P. December 3, 2014
I was going to ask the same question about using butter...or lard or a combination of butter and lard.
Lindsay-Jean H. December 4, 2014
Changing the fat will change the cookie, but you might like the cookie you end up with!
Cookie M. December 2, 2014
Is a cookie press necessary or can I just roll out the dough and slice it up?
Lindsay-Jean H. December 2, 2014
Yup, as noted above, you can just roll them out thinly and cut into strips (or use cookie cutters).
Pork N. December 1, 2014
Will butter work instead of oleo or shortening?
Lindsay-Jean H. December 2, 2014
It will likely change the cookie, but I'm sure the cookie you end up with will taste good!