Family Recipes

Almost 44 years ago, Dave’s Mom typed this now molasses-spattered recipe that I still treasure.

Dave and I had fallen in love, and June Wolfe wanted me to have some recipes that her youngest son loved. Along with the ingredients, she also instructed me in the text:  “Using too much flour will make the cookies dry and not as moist as Dave likes them, Use just enough four to be able to roll the dough on board.”  Point taken!

As the years went by, the boys learned fractions in the kitchen when ever we doubled or halved this recipe. The onion skin typing paper tore and a few molasses spills “decorated” the paper.

In talking to Dave’s Aunt Betty, we believe this recipe originated with Dave’s great-grandmother Wolfe. Following the genealogy, that means that as Austyn Grace and I now make and eat these sweet, soft confections, she’s connecting back through the generations to her great great great grandmother.

Folks taste these molasses cookies and often ask for the recipe, so I decided to gather some of the ingredients and capture the process for my blog.

Several years ago I decided to re-type the recipe and made some fancy cards, but I won’t part with the original Mom Wolfe gave me.

On this windy Saturday afternoon here on Winding Ridge, I got the urge to bake.



1 cup white sugar — full measure

1 cup shortening — full measure

1 cup molasses — full measure

Cream sugar and shortening; add molasses

Stir in 1 TBSP ginger, 1 TBSP cinnamon, 1/2 tsp salt

Make sour milk by adding a TBSP vinegar to 2/3 cup milk

Make sour milk in 2 cup measure; add 2 tsp baking soda; watch the expansion!

Alternate adding the milk with between 5 and 6 cups of flour. Use just enough flour to be able to roll dough onto counter top or board. Remember Mom Wolfe’s caution about wanting a soft cookie that is NOT dry.

I have five sizes of cookie cutters, but usually use the second largest. To use the smallest size, the cookies can get crisp, not a favorite type of cookie in the Wolfe family!

I have also used a glass as a cookie cutter or a gingerbread man cutter. Be creative, but don’t roll the dough too thin.

The cookies bake at 350 degrees for only 8 minutes; overbake them and …well, you have read about dry cookies!

Let the cookies cool on a rack, before placing them in the cookie jar with the secret ingredient: a piece of fresh bread. I don’t know what happens chemically, but the bread gets hard and the cookies stay soft.

The bear on my oven mitt will not eat these cookies, but somehow they disappear quickly. Dave, Brent, and Bryan still claim molasses cookies are breakfast food…flour, milk, molasses….Are you following their line of thinking?


One thought on “Family Recipes

  1. Flo, I’m so glad you did this. I know you told me that you put it in one of the Women’s Life editions but I have looked through all the ones I can find and have yet to find the recipe. I’m almost certain I have all the editions but I tend to care them from room to room when I’m reading them, so I’ve probably put that one particular one down where I’ll find it by chance looking for something else!! It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve done that. Anyway, upon my joyfulness of seeing this blog, Mark has told me that he now expects to have some cookies. I will gladly comply with his request!! Thank you!!

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