Soft Molasses Cookies

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.
Prep
20 mins
Bake
11 to 12 mins
Total
31 mins
Yield
2 dozen 2 1/2" cookies.
Soft Molasses Cookies

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) a baking sheet.
  2. Whisk together the flour, spices, salt and baking soda, and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar, then beat in the molasses.
  4. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the rum.
  5. Scoop out round balls of dough about 1 1/2" in diameter; a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here. Place the balls on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake the cookies for 11 to 12 minutes, until they crack on top but haven't yet browned around the edges.

Tips from our Bakers

  • 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.
  • If you're looking for a flatter, larger-diameter cookie, gently flatten each dough ball with lightly greased hands before baking.