I don’t know what prompted my great grandmother to name these extra thick, cake-like molasses cookies “ginger cremes” but she did. There’s something so quintessentially old fashioned about molasses cookies, and I was so excited to find this recipe because most molasses cookies I’ve tried in the past have been a little too thin and crisp for my taste.
I was a little leery of the recipe because it called for a whopping 1/2 cup of molasses but only 2 cups of flour. And after I mixed them up and put them in the oven to bake, I sat down on the floor of my kitchen and anxiously watched them rise. Oh, and rise they did! Let me tell you, they turned into the most pillow-like, thick, cakey molasses cookie that I’ve ever tried. Think pumpkin whoopie pie….but ginger.
Simple old fashioned cookies like this make me so happy and so sure of myself that I’m in the right industry. I mean, who else gets ridiculously excited and dances around the house alone because of a cookie?
There’s nothing fancy about them and they are pretty much the direct opposite of these bad boys. However, I think it’s their simplicity that makes them so special. They aren’t overly sweet or overly spicy, and if just a liiiiiiittle thicker, might even be called a muffin. They are positively retro in every way, from the shortening, to the whopping half cup of molasses and to the “baking soda dissolved in hot water”. They taste exactly like little mounds of old fashioned gingerbread (the cake, not the cookie) and would probably also be great drizzled with a little flat icing.
Next time, I might try sandwiching them with some buttercream. But for now, I’m happy to bake and eat them the way great grandma most likely intended—with a cup of tea.
makes 19-20 cookies
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream together the shortening and the sugar until light and fluffy, then add the egg and molasses and beat well. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Alternate adding the dry ingredients with the baking soda water to the sugar mixture, beating well after each addition.
Drop large spoonfuls of dough on lined sheet trays and bake for eight minutes, until puffy.
LysNovember 7, 2011 at 4:05 am
I love ginger and I love that November is bringing this them of everyone blogging about it! So great and so delicious! Thanks for sharing.
Amy @loveAmyxNovember 7, 2011 at 4:15 am
Do you have ginger cream biscuits in the US? Thats what these remind me of…
love Amy x
KhushbooNovember 7, 2011 at 4:18 am
I actually hate ginger but ginger snaps/cookies are an exception!
AnneNovember 7, 2011 at 4:36 am
I’ll try them, will remind me my childhood… But I cannot go with shortening, sorry.
sheilaNovember 7, 2011 at 4:49 am
these look yum! is there any substitute for shortening?
CarolineNovember 7, 2011 at 4:54 am
i love that your baking from all of her recipe cards…it’s really fun to follow along w/ this project and get a peek into the past! great idea!
Heather (Heather's Dish)November 7, 2011 at 4:59 am
these bring back so many memories of my Mimi’s ginger cookies…hers weren’t crisp either, but were this really soft chewy decadent cookie. i used to take a big gallon bag with me on golf trips (they were supposed to be shared) but then I’d totally hoard and eat them all!
so great to meet you this weekend 🙂
Angela @ Eat Spin Run RepeatNovember 7, 2011 at 5:03 am
Ooh my mum would love these!
“I sat down on the floor of my kitchen and anxiously watched them rise.” – I have TOTALLY done this! I love the anticipation – it’s like watching TV, but better!!
Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a DayNovember 7, 2011 at 5:05 am
Those look great and the recipe written in your grandmothers hand is priceless!
cadastru BucurestiNovember 7, 2011 at 5:11 am
I like this recipe a lot, it is one of my favourites. I`ve tried it this morning and it was very good, thanks for sharing.
jennaNovember 7, 2011 at 5:13 am
mmm…cake cookies own me! these look so delicious!
JenNovember 7, 2011 at 5:15 am
Oh my Lord, that first picture…I could bite into it right now!
Well, I’m not in the “industry”, but I get excited about molasses cookies… I guess I’m not lucky enough to be paid to watch them rise though 🙂
Lauren @ What Lauren LikesNovember 7, 2011 at 5:18 am
I cannot wait to make these! My family lovvves ginger 🙂
kathleen @ the daily crumbNovember 7, 2011 at 5:25 am
my gramma made amazing ginger creams!! unfortunately no one knows where her recipes are, so i’ll have to adopt this one 🙂
AmandaNovember 7, 2011 at 5:26 am
I love anything with molasses and ginger. It reminds me of eating ginger snaps dipped in Lipton black tea when I was growing up. My mom and I would load up the tea with cream and sugar and catch up on our days. Such a nice memory. 🙂
Gina @ Running to the KitchenNovember 7, 2011 at 5:32 am
Any time I eat a cookie with a distinct ginger flavor I crave a cup of tea. You’re right about molasses equally old fashioned, that’s exactly what I think too when I see it in an ingredient list.
Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't CountNovember 7, 2011 at 5:38 am
They look just delicious! I do like crisp though. Yum, anyway.
Molly @ RDexposedNovember 7, 2011 at 5:39 am
I love watching things bake in the oven as though I was glued to a TV show!
brandiNovember 7, 2011 at 5:43 am
these look just like our family recipe for molasses cookies – i love how soft and puffy they are!
CaitlinNovember 7, 2011 at 5:48 am
Those look sooo good! And for the record, I get ridiculously excited and dance for cookies. There’s no shame in that!
ImwaytoobusyNovember 7, 2011 at 5:49 am
It looks as though the 1/2 cup of molasses paid off! They sound wonderful.
The Blue-Eyed BakersNovember 7, 2011 at 6:01 am
Oooh we adore ginger cookies and these look insanely divine…so gorgeous!
HilJoNovember 7, 2011 at 6:02 am
What a beautiful way to start my morning, looking at those pictures and dreaming of pillowy ginger cookies…sigh.
DaisyNovember 7, 2011 at 6:14 am
and that retro mug…awesome touch!
Cait's PlateNovember 7, 2011 at 6:26 am
LOVE how thick and doughy they look!
MeganNovember 7, 2011 at 6:26 am
Eek! That last sentence made me homesick. Every time I visit my grandma she always serves us cups of tea and ginger biscuits. They’re biscuits, so they’re snappier than these, and they’re also shop bought (:o); but they’re sooo ‘my grandma’. I’ll be home in December, and I think she might be hosting Christmas dinner – but I might just walk in the door and ask for a cup of tea and a ginger snap instead 😛
laura @FoodSnobSTLNovember 7, 2011 at 6:45 am
I just want to comment on that amazing mug and what appears to be a ruler placemat. Where did you find those?!
jennaNovember 7, 2011 at 7:18 am
the mug was actually my mom’s when she was a little girl…and that “ruler” is just a piece of retro scrapbook paper from Michael’s!
Liz @ IHeartVegetablesNovember 7, 2011 at 6:50 am
My man friend doesn’t like most desserts (he doesn’t really like chocolate… which I think is insane) but he likes gingersnaps! I might have to try this one out on him!
MariaNovember 7, 2011 at 7:02 am
I love a good ginger cookie! Congrats on your award! Well deserved indeed!
jennaNovember 7, 2011 at 8:16 am
thanks so much, maria!
korinaNovember 7, 2011 at 7:02 am
yummmm shortening 😀 thanks for keeping it in there!
amy walters, aDESIGNdockNovember 7, 2011 at 7:04 am
Wonderful recipe Jenna! Perfect as the holiday season approaches!
LizNovember 7, 2011 at 7:11 am
Yum! I absolutely love molasses cookies – when I was a kid my great grandma & I used to make her mother’s recipe, but it was always a little drier than I liked. My favorite recipe for them is the one from Williams-Sonoma (spiced molasses cookies), but I’m betting I’ll love these ones, too! 🙂
Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter)November 7, 2011 at 7:20 am
I love cakey cookies! These looks great.. I’m curious where the name ‘ginger creme’ came from though..
Kristen @ Chocolate Covered KristenNovember 7, 2011 at 7:35 am
Yum! I must try these. I love ginger, ginger bread, ginger ale, etc. but can never seen to find soft ginger cookies… they are always rock hard! Congrats on your award the other night! I was at the table next to yours inhaling the gingerbread macarons from the dessert buffet 🙂
Estela @ Weekly BiteNovember 7, 2011 at 7:40 am
These cookies look amazing! And I am obsessed with your coffee mug 🙂
CaitandAllieNovember 7, 2011 at 7:41 am
Yum! I’ve made cookies with a recipe that requires dissolving the Baking Soda in water first, and I thought it was a very curious step, but I followed along like a good baker. Do you know why a recipe would call for dissolving the Baking Soda in water? What does it accomplish that dry Baking Soda doesn’t?
Cat @Breakfast to BedNovember 7, 2011 at 8:20 am
these almost look soft enough to be fashioned into whoopie pies, are they?
JessicaNovember 7, 2011 at 8:49 am
I have that mug! One of my favorite thrifting finds 🙂
Andrea @ The Skinny ChroniclesNovember 7, 2011 at 8:58 am
Soft and fluffy cookies are my favorite. Crispy ginger cookies have always been disappointing. What a fabulous treat!
KatrynNovember 7, 2011 at 9:00 am
I agree! I don’t like the thin and crispy ginger cookies but love soft gingerbread. These totally fit the bill! And so perfect for Autumn. 🙂
TeriNovember 7, 2011 at 9:09 am
Yum! These sound very much like my own grandmother’s Ginger Cookies. They’re a staple in our house for Christmas. Some of my favorite memories are of all the women in the family, bustingly around making those cookies for Christmas.
Moni'sMealsNovember 7, 2011 at 9:32 am
The texture on these suckers are amazing! I only prefer ginger cookies if they are soft and chewy, not hard. 🙂
These will make my Christmas Cookies for sure.
Adrianna from A Cozy KitchenNovember 7, 2011 at 9:35 am
OMG Im so in love with the tape measure surface you have. So cute!
Emmy (Wine and Butter)November 7, 2011 at 9:38 am
I think ALL cookies should be soft – ginger or otherwise – they are just so much better!!! These cookies look amazing!!!! I really love making ginger icing to put on ginger cookies – so easy and, as far as Im concerned, the more ginger the better. Marzipan and gingner also go awesome togther (assuming that is, tha tyou like marzipan!!) xox
Averie @ Love Veggies and YogaNovember 7, 2011 at 10:57 am
A half cup of molasses is a lot and I would have been like….really….hmmm…but one should never doubt little old lady’s and their baking because they clearly know what’s up.
These look awesome! And so puffffffy. Whoopie pies and buttercream sound like a great twist, too.
RachelNovember 7, 2011 at 12:13 pm
This is my absolute favorite kind of cookie. Make it chewy, thick, and molasses and I will absolutely not be able to keep my hands off! I have been known to sit in front of the oven to watch things rise too…
Carissa @ ChoiceSustenanceNovember 7, 2011 at 12:51 pm
I love puffy ginger cookies. They’re so much better than gingersnaps!
katie @KatieDidNovember 7, 2011 at 1:13 pm
They do remind me of those little packaged molasses cookies with a bit of vanilla frosting sandwiched in between I always had as after school treats. Can’t think of their name though!
Happy When Not HungryNovember 7, 2011 at 2:09 pm
These look so fluffy and delicious! I agree… can’t stand the hard gingersnap cookies. These look awesome!
KatrinaNovember 7, 2011 at 3:15 pm
These sound delightful!
CateNovember 7, 2011 at 4:44 pm
These are on my to bake list! Where did you get the mug in the background? It’s adorable!!!
KristinNovember 7, 2011 at 5:21 pm
I have all these ingredients! That just made my night. I’ll definitely be making these but I’ll also definitely be sandwiching them around some buttercream. Can’t wait! And the perfect time of year for them 🙂
abraNovember 7, 2011 at 5:36 pm
that looks yummy ^.^
Emily @ Life on FoodNovember 7, 2011 at 5:43 pm
When I make a good cookie, I always do a little dance. Then eat some more. Then I share with any one who is around.
Kiran @ KiranTarun.comNovember 7, 2011 at 5:56 pm
Ginger cookies are my favorite fall indulgence. Like you said, best with tea. Can’t be wrong 🙂 Thanks grammie!
amyt @ Chicken Nugget MommaNovember 8, 2011 at 10:13 am
Oh yes my hubby will love these….I make a cinnamon buttercream icing that will go perf in the middle!!!!
LizNovember 8, 2011 at 10:53 am
These look divine! Thanks for sharing.
Heidi - Apples Under My BedNovember 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm
Happy cookie dance – the best.
Lynna @wholeytreatsNovember 8, 2011 at 8:49 pm
I’m so glad you’re sharing all your great grandmother’s recipes! Not only do I love retro desserts, but I think the history behind them is so interesting.
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RachelDecember 22, 2011 at 6:49 am
Just made these and they were a HUGE hit with the family! I was a little leery about the runny dough but they turned out wonderfully- simple, soft and super comforting. Definitely adding these to the holiday cookie rotation, thanks Jenna!!
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AbbyMay 20, 2012 at 1:37 pm
I’m a little behind the times but just wanted to say–just made these, and they’re fantastic. I totes had my doubts your great-grandmother’s dough consistency too but watching them rise in the oven (wait, normal people DON’T camp out in front of the oven with the light on??) was pretty much beautiful. Thanks for the top-notch recipe!
debbi in TexasFebruary 7, 2013 at 9:12 am
I just found your cache of recipes and am printing like mad so I can make all (or many) of your great grandmothers recipes. Interestingly, I found her Ginger Creams as a 1900’s Gold Medal recipe in this link of historical cookware and kitchens; the only difference is she had less shortening and no cinnamon. http://webapp.montcopa.org/newsletters/historicsites/2012JanFebNewsletterWeb.pdf
MarilynMay 1, 2013 at 9:44 am
My mom made these. She totally would frost them with buttercream fronting. No lightweight fronting on these cookies. They are like little cakes.
Cookie MonsterDecember 19, 2018 at 9:36 am
I am just about as happy as I can be. My aunt who is now deceased had 6 children and she used to make tons of cookies for the holidays. This was 1 she used to make and I absolutely loved them. Her daughter my cousin, has been making them, and occasionally would make them for me when I asked. I wanted the recipe for myself so I wouldn’t have to hope and wait for her to make me some. I figured she may not want to give me the recipe as I think she felt very possessive of it because it was one of her mom’s. I vaguely remembered “creme” being part of the recipe’s name, but I googled molasses cremes and what I found was not it. My cousin sent me a recipe but it definitely was not the cookies I was looking for. She sent me something like a molasses crinkle that tasted like a soft chewy ginger snap. I was determined to find this recipe. I found one for “old fashioned soft molasses cookies” and thought finally, so I made another 30 cookies, only to be disappointed that this still was not what I was looking for. Then I sat thinking, wait the cookies reminded me of my mom’s gingerbread. The gingerbread always seemed to have a slightly moist top, so i figured i should look for soft ginger bread cookies, after about 5 minutes of searching and looking at pics and reading ingredients, EUREKA, I found this. This is the recipe and I just want to thank you so very much. I made sure to let my cousin know that even though she appeared to not want to give me the recipe, haha, I have it.