Soft Molasses Cookies

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Soft Molasses Cookies

star rating (16) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

Molasses cookies are surely the most ubiquitous cookie in any New England cookbook you happen to leaf through. They're more venerable than those newcomers, Toll House (chocolate chip) cookies which, after all, are only about 65 years old.

The addition of rum to these spicy cookies helps keep them soft, and also qualifies them for a special name: Joe Froggers. Legend has it that an old man named Joe, who lived by a frog pond in Marblehead, Massachusetts, was famous for his chewy molasses cookies. One day, in thanks to a neighbor for the gift of a jug of rum, he added some of that spirit to a batch of his molasses cookie dough, then gave the cookies to the generous neighbor. Eureka! A rum-laced molasses cookie that quickly earned a great reputation around town and was christened with the name of its creator.

To keep these cookies soft, we recommend storing them in an airtight container (a plastic bag is fine) as soon as they're just barely warm. Add a couple of slices of cut apple if you plan on keeping them around long.

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons (2 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
1/2 cup (6 ounces) molasses
1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) dark rum

Whisk together the flour, spices, salt and baking soda, and set aside. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar, then beat in the molasses. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the rum.

Using a cookie or muffin scoop, scoop out round balls of dough somewhere in size between a ping-pong ball and a golf ball, and place the balls on a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Bake the cookies in a preheated 375°F oven for 11 to 12 minutes, until they crack on top but haven't yet browned around the edges. Yield: 2 dozen 3" cookies.

Nutrition information per serving (1 cookie, 37g): 137 cal, 3.3g fat, 1g protein, 10g complex carbohydrates, 13g sugar, 2g alcohol, 9mg cholesterol, 96mg sodium, 62mg potassium, 32RE vitamin A, 1mg iron, 35mg calcium, 17mg phosphorus.


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  • star rating 12/09/2014
  • kristac from KAF Community
  • I added 1 egg. Was it missing from the ingredient list? They taste good. Appreciate KAF response on this. Thanks!
    The recipe is correct as written. I am pleased it worked out for you and you found them delicious! Elisabeth@KAF
  • star rating 12/01/2014
  • Carol from Chehalis, WA
  • I couldn't quit eating these cookies after I baked them. Love that they don't contain shortening and are not too sweet. Best molasses cookies I've ever baked.
  • star rating 11/28/2014
  • Aunt Bea from San Jose, CA
  • Have made this recipe several times, they are delicious. Although pretty homely looking, the molasses, spice, and rum result in a rich and complex flavor. They freeze well, and taste best when you put them away for at least a week before eating. This gives the flavors a chance to blend and develop.
  • star rating 11/13/2014
  • Carol from Napavine, WA
  • Baked exactly as instructed including weighing my flour. I only had 1/4 cup of gold rum. So I added water to equal 1/3 cup. One of the best molasses cookies I've ever had. Definitely the best I've ever baked. Not too sweet. Yummmmy!
  • star rating 02/01/2014
  • anyasmifay from somewhere, maine
  • I am sad these cookies didn't come out correctly. I wasted quite a bit of rum and butter, expensive ingredients. The cookies did not spread out. They stayed big and fluffy. The taste was acceptable. I won't be making these again.
    We're sorry to hear you did not care for this recipe. Please call our bakers hotline if you would like to troubleshoot. ~ MJ @ KAF
  • star rating 12/28/2012
  • Carol from Stoughton, MA
  • I emailed this recipe to my sister because my brother-in-law loves a good story, and loves cookies, and sails around Marblehead. They brought a batch to a gathering of wooden boat sailers, who all loved the story and recipe (she sent them to your site.) I was telling a friend who was appliqueing a quilt of schooners and boats. She also asked for the recipe, and now it is a favorite of our applique guild. I sent them all to your site. I'm now baking a batch for a ladies' pot luck luncheon tomorrow. My husband's hoping for a snow storm to cancel the luncheon so he can eat them.
  • star rating 11/30/2011
  • MistaMista from KAF Community
  • Excellent considering it has 1/2 the fat and sugar as the traditional soft molasses cookie. I used real butter (kept it cool), weighed the flour, nice cool cookie sheets with silpat liners and the cookies spread& cracked on the tops picture perfect. I would recommend using 6 TLBS butter rather than 5. Also, mix in the rum then lastly HAND stir in the flour to keep the gluten in the flour from over developing ... this made the perfect Joe Frogger (it was my 3rd test batch). Do not over cook as the rum flavor will disappear.
  • star rating 10/28/2011
  • katzentner from KAF Community
  • Oh Wow! I've been searching for a soft, chewy molasses cookie recipe for a long time, this recipe has everything I want. I sprinkled a little coarse sugar on top before baking, the bit of crunch goes nicely with the soft chewy texture. The cookies seemed a bit fragile coming out of the oven, I let them cool a couple of minutes on the sheet before moving them onto the cooling rack, then bagged them while just barely warm.
  • star rating 03/27/2011
  • CAM from Maine from KAF Community
  • Like the reviewer above, my cookies didn't spread while they cooked. I think the problem was reading comprehension -- I accidentally used baking POWDER, not baking SODA! The cookies taste delicious, but they look awful. Guess I won't have to give any away!
    You may have measured too much flour into your dough which may have prevented your cookies from spreading properly. We suggest you measure flour like this: ~Amy
  • star rating 02/28/2011
  • ChemLabLady from KAF Community
  • These are wonderful. If Joe Frogger was real, he was an excellent neighbor. I ate almost the entire first batch and had to make a second one for sharing.
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