North Americans call it molasses and the Brits call it treacle. Molasses has been in North America since the 1600′s when it was first used to make rum. Back then, it was a preferred sweetener and cheaper than refined sugar.
Refined sugar prices after World War 1 dropped and therefore became cheaper than molasses. I have a Purity Cookbook published 1967 (first edition 1917) and The Fannie Farmer Cookbook published 1979 (first edition 1906) both list a molasses cookie recipe. The 1915 edition of Five Roses Cookbook also lists a molasses cookie recipe. These older cookbooks clearly show it’s been a favorite for generations. While this recipe isn’t your usual run-of-the-mill and one might think the ingredients are a bit suspect, I strongly encourage you to give this molasses cookie a go.
Makes about 15 cookies
adapted from The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (optional)
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup molasses
1. Sift flour, cocoa powder, ground ginger, baking soda, cardamom, and pepper into a bowl.
3. Place dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log (about 10-inchs long). Tightly wrap and roll the log a few times, patting it as you go to make it smooth. Refrigerate until firm – at least 1 hour or up to 5 days.
4. Preheat oven to 350f. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Fill a small plate or bowl with granulated sugar.
5. Remove dough from fridge and slice into 1/2-inch thickness. Roll these slices into balls and then lightly roll in the sugar. Place on the baking sheet, spaced 1-inch apart. Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until crackly on top but still soft to touch. Let cool 10 minutes on baking sheet. The surface will get firmer as they cool.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: A slight crunch on the outside with a soft interior makes these cookies irresistible. Mr. S. has now given these cookies his royal seal of approval. Enjoy!