Although these spiced molasses cookies are good year-round, they are especially delicious during the holiday season — a special treat that brings back fond memories for my family!
Growing up, one birthday tradition I loved more than most was when my great aunt Hilda brought us a huge platter of her delicious homemade spiced molasses cookies.
She never married and spent a huge amount of time with my Grandpa’s family. And since she only lived a mile or so away from my family, we saw her a lot.
She often picked me up from school or brought me to various extracurricular activities when my parents couldn’t, for whatever reason.
My sisters and I spent many afternoons baking with Aunt Hilda and we enjoyed her homemade cookies every single birthday (she even brought them for Dave and I after we were married)!
My great aunt died several years ago, and after she died, I realized I never got her cookie recipe.
For years and years, I’ve wanted this recipe — and thanks to a conversation with another distant relative a couple of years ago I finally have it!
I had to laugh at a few of the notations within the recipe (all in Aunt Hilda’s classic scrawl). For starters, she insisted on using shortening (not butter or margarine) as well as “Grandma’s Molasses”.
Honestly, I’m not convinced this brand of molasses is required, but for the sake of nostalgia, I’ve included it in my recipe too!
As for the shortening, I tried both butter and shortening with equally delicious reqults, so I’ll probably stick with butter (pun intended) as I don’t keep shortening in the house anymore.
If you’re looking for an old-fashioned recipe for spiced molasses cookies, this is one of the best around (although I might be slightly biased!)
- FOR THE COOKIES:
- 1/2 c. butter or shortening
- 1 c. sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 T. Grandma's Molasses
- 1/2 c. sour milk** (see notes below)
- 2 c. flour
- 1/4 t. ground cloves
- 1 t. cinnamon
- 1/4 t. salt
- 1/3 c. chopped walnuts (optional)
- FOR THE GLAZE
- 1 c. powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1-2 T. milk
- a few drops of food coloring to make them festive
FOR THE COOKIES:
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
- Add eggs, molasses, and milk. Mix until combined.
- Mix in flour, cloves, cinnamon, and salt until combined.
- Stir in walnuts (optional).
- Scoop heaping Tablespoons of batter onto parchment-lined cookie sheets (it will feel more like brownie batter than cookie dough).
- Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
- Let cool before frosting.
FOR THE GLAZE:
- Mix all ingredients together, adding a very small amount more milk as necessary.
- Spread thin frosting over cooled cookies and let "harden".
- Store frosted cookies in an airtight container with wax paper between the layers.
** **I didn't know what sour milk was, so I Googled it. Apparently you can make "sour milk" similarly to how you'd make buttermilk.
Pour 1 T. white vinegar into a 1/2 c. measure cup. Add 1/2 t. baking soda and fill the rest with milk. Stir together and add to cookie batter.
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Amount Per Serving Calories 102Total Fat 4gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 18mgSodium 43mgCarbohydrates 15gFiber 0gSugar 10gProtein 1g
Nutritional information is approximate and does not account for additional ingredients or added toppings.
As I mentioned above, my great aunt (my maternal grandfather’s oldest sister) never married, so she spent most of her holidays with my grandparents, their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
She almost always brought these cookies for every holiday party, and the plates were always empty by the end.
Since I now have the recipe, I have followed suit and brought them to many family gatherings over the past few years.
They are always a bit hit as everyone enjoys reliving old stories about Aunt Hilda and her famous cookies!
I’m thrilled to finally have this recipe in my virtual recipe box and I’m certain I will make them regularly — especially during the holidays!
Want More Cookie Recipes?
I’ve got dozens of delicious cookie recipes on the blog… find them all right here!
Do you have a favorite recipe passed down from a loved one?