Old Molasses Ginger Cookie Recipe


I have searched for decades for a molasses ginger cookie like those made my my elderly childhood neighbor. They were big with scalloped edges, obviously rolled. Not a thin or light cookie but one with a substantial feel. The closest I have found is for Gingies in The Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook. These cookies contain no eggs but my neighbor had chickens so I find it hard to believe she didn't use any. I just found another eggless molasses cookie recipe in the Moody Diner Cookbook (Waldeboro Maine). I just wonder what eggs actually do to the texture of rolled cookies.

badge posted by: dachshundlady on July 31, 2011 at 5:10 pm in Baking, desserts and sweets
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reply by: chiara on July 31, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Funny you should post this question because I was editing the cookie recipes submitted for our community cookbook and I questioned a gingerbread cookie recipe that had no eggs. When I brought it up to the other committee members that the recipe called for no eggs, they didn't think it was odd so the recipe stayed in but I have been reluctant to try the recipe for fear that the eggs were inadvertently omitted. Posting it below:

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

3 cups flour
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbs. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened
3/4 cup molasses
2 tbs. milk

In a food processor, fitted with a metal blade, process flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt and baking soda until well combined. Add butter pieces and process until mixture resembles a very fine meal. Add the molasses and milk, processing until the mixture is evenly moistened and forms a soft mass. Divide the dough in half and place each piece between two pieces of parchment paper. Roll until about 1/4 inch thin. Place in freezer for at least 20 minutes, but overnight is fine as well. Preheat oven to 350. Remove the dough from the freezer and cut into gingerbread men or desired shapes. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 9 to 12 minutes. Cool and decorate. Yields: 2 dozen.

reply by: ncgnet on July 31, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Here is our family recipe for Swedish Peperkakor, which includes eggs. I think my mother began using it in the 50's. I make them thin and crispy, and my sister-in-law makes them fatter, so I can't answer your question on the effect of the eggs, seems good either way (fat or thin). - Nancy

PEPERKAKOR recipe from Sweden

Yield - around 12 dozen thin cookies

2 TB molasses
1/2 lb (2 sticks) butter [or one margarine, one butter]
2 cups sugar - [I use 1 cup brown, 1 cup white]

2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp white vinegar

Mix above ingredients. Cook to a full boil - then cool.

ADD 2 eggs, mix.

ADD 3 cups flour. - [I sometimes use 3 1/2 cups; can go up to 4 cups if all butter used and if planning to roll out cookies between 2 sheets of wax paper.]

Mix well. Let stand at room temperature overnight.

Preheat oven to 350.

Roll out, very thin, cut out cookies with your favorite cutters, and bake for about 10 minutes.

[I like these thin and crispy, my sister-in-law makes fatter softer cookies and bakes at 325 with good results.]

reply by: chiara on July 31, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Oops, sorry, I think I misunderstood your post. Apparently, you have found eggless ginger cookie recipes. So let me ask you how this recipe compares to those recipes--because I am skeptical of this recipe. I think it has too much molasses and too little leavener to work. I am wondering what the other eggless recipes have as ingredients and amounts.

reply by: amgbooth on July 31, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Old Sturbridge Village in Mass published a tiny booklet of their cookies which I loved. It is copyrighted 1964, but I bought it for my grandmother in 1981. In it there are 2 recipes that might fit the bill. Lumberjacks and Pine Tree Shillings.

1 cup sugar
1 cup shortening
1 cup dark molasses
2 eggs
4 cups sifted flour
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsps cinnamon
1 tsp ginger

Cream together the sugar and shortening. Add molasses and unbeaten eggs. Mix well. Sift together the dry ingredients and stir in. Put 1/4 cup sugar in a small bowl. Dip fingers into the sugar, then pinch off a ball of dough and roll it to the size and shape of a walnut. Dip the rolled ball into the bowl of sugar. Place balls on greased cookie sheetabout 3 inches apart. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. this recipe makes 4 dzn large soft cookies, 24 to a standard cookie sheet. The dough will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator.

Pine Tree Shillings
1 cup light molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger

In a saucepan heat the molasses, add the shortening and beat until the shortening is melted and the two are blended together. Then stir in the sugar. Let this mixture cool. Sift together the dry ingredients and add to the cooled mixture. Beat well. Shape into two rolls about one inch in diameter and chill for eight hours or overnight. When ready to bake, slice very thin. Place slices on greased baking sheet about three inches apart. Keep the rolls in the refrigerator except when you are actually slicing them. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. This dough will keep several weeks in the refrigerator.

reply by: amgbooth on July 31, 2011 at 8:03 pm

According to the KA Flour 200th anniversary cookbook, egg yolks make baked products richer and more tender; egg whites create structure.

reply by: dachshundlady on August 01, 2011 at 6:39 am

The Moody's diner recipe has only 1/2 cup shortening but a rounded teas of soda. Also only a cup of sweeteners. But also only 2 1/4 cups flour. Still, that is a big difference in fat and leavening. I am guessing the Moody cookies are thicker, not chewy like the ones above.

reply by: dachshundlady on August 01, 2011 at 6:41 am

Your recipe has much more fat and sugar than mine and no leavener except for the eggs. For fluid, mine has buttermilk which is mixed with the soda.

reply by: dachshundlady on August 01, 2011 at 6:43 am

The Pine Tree Shillings is the most similar to the Moody recipe. But where it has extra molasses, mine has buttermilk. So many possibilities . . .

reply by: dachshundlady on August 01, 2011 at 6:45 am

So the Moody recipe is using extra soda in place of the egg whites, I guess. And would richer make the cookie denser? I think of shortbread texture and how much fat is in it.

reply by: dachshundlady on August 01, 2011 at 6:45 am

So the Moody recipe is using extra soda in place of the egg whites, I guess. And would richer make the cookie denser? I think of shortbread texture and how much fat is in it.

reply by: dachshundlady on August 01, 2011 at 6:58 am

Here is the recipe I plan to try first:
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
Add and mix well:
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup buttermilk
Stir in:
2 1/4 cups flour
rounded teas baking soda
1/2 teas salt
1/2 teas cinnamon
1 1/2 teas ginger
1/8 teas cloves
1/8 teas allspice
Let mixture sit in fridge at least 30 minutes
Roll out 1/2 inch thick and cut with biscuit cutter
Place on greased cookie sheet and sprinkle with sugar
Bake 350 for 15-20 minutes

reply by: dachshundlady on August 01, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Hubbie and I just ate a couple of these cookies. Good flavor but they did not stay puffy; half (those on upper middle shelf) are crinkled and a bit more coarse than desired and the other half (lower middle) are smooth and more fine textured. I think I need more flour and to sub some baking powder. My old lady neighbor baked hers in a wood stove. I hope that's not the necessary variable that I can't recreate!

reply by: HCFausold on August 03, 2011 at 3:22 pm

I recently located the recipe for the rolled molasses cookies my mother-in-law always made. It is an old family recipe and she always used her scalloped edge cutter.

1 C. Grandma's Molasses
1 C. butter
1 C.sugar (1/2 brown)
1 t. salt
1 heaping tsp. ginger
6 T. boiling water
1 t. soda in water
1/4 t. cinnamon
3 1/2 C. flour
Chill the dough the day before baking. 350 degrees for 6 minutes.

Hope this is helpful!

reply by: dachshundlady on August 22, 2011 at 7:06 am

Well, I have tried about 6 recipes of varying proportions. The key seems to be less fat and more flour. The last I tried was another from the Moody Diner Cookbook. DH thinks them the best so far. They are great but not Mrs. Selfridges. I have concluded that with all that flour and the fine dense consistency, hers were probably great the first day(when I always had one) but I bet they dried out quickly. This latest recipe is softer and more open textured but is a very very good cookie. I will probably stick with it as they stayed moist a few days in the cookie jar with a half piece of bread in the bottom to keep them from drying out. Thank you for all your help.

reply by: dachshundlady on August 22, 2011 at 7:08 am

This is quite similar to a couple I have tried. Very good but, for my purposes, needs less fat and more flour to achieve that dense, fine crumb. Thanks for posting!