Monday, September 12, 2016

Jan's Best Molasses Cookies

To say my husband likes molasses cookies is an understatement. He LOVES molasses cookies.

But they have to be just right.

When we first got married (back in the stone-age), I tried all of the recipes I could find for molasses cookies. Not one of them satisfied his (and my) deep longings for that perfect blend of crispy outside and chewy inside. The tantalizing marriage of molasses sweetness and ginger spiciness.

Until this recipe:

Paula was a woman my husband worked with back in the day. Look at that recipe card! Graphics like that haven't been around since the early '80s!

Anyway, one day at work my husband mentioned his craving for just the right molasses cookie, and Paula gave him her recipe.

The first time I made them, they passed inspection...even though they weren't quite right, they satisfied the cravings.

But then in the late '80s/early '90s, we stopped using vegetable oil and corn oil. When I switched to olive oil for my cooking, this recipe got shoved to the back of the file.

(Just a hint - don't use olive oil for this recipe! The flavor is...well...less than desirable.)

Then came the early 2000's and I started using coconut oil in my cooking. I'm sure you know about my love affair with coconut oil! I only use three fats when I cook - it's either going to be butter, olive oil, or coconut oil.

Anyway, my husband had one of those cravings last week, and I realized I hadn't tried this recipe with coconut oil.

It is a winner! And just in time for fall. :)

Jan's Best Molasses Cookies


3/4 cup coconut oil (warm it to above 76° so it's liquid before you measure)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg, then add oil, sugar and molasses and stir until mostly blended. Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Form into balls - about the size of an English walnut - and roll in sugar. Put them on a cookie sheet. I line mine with parchment paper.

Ignore that "ball" on the lower right. I don't know what
Flatten each ball slightly with the back of a spoon.

Bake the cookies at 375° for 8-12 minutes. At my higher altitude, I need to bake them closer to 14 minutes.

The key thing is that you don't want to over bake them - you don't want them hard and crispy.

(Unless you like gingersnaps! I learned that if you forget to take them out of the oven soon enough, you have the perfect hard, crunchy gingersnap texture!)

But you don't want to under bake them, either!

Follow your gut instinct. Channel your inner Gibbs. :)

When they are baked just right, they are crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and oh! so delicious!

Definitely husband approved!

In other news, look what the UPS man brought on Friday!

Opening a box of books with my name on the cover never gets old!

And then my cousin shared this picture on Facebook to celebrate Grandparents Day:

This is a picture of nears and dears, but I want you to look at the woman on the left. That is my great-grandmother, Bessie Ellen Schrock Sherck.

Yes, George Sherck courted one of the Schrock girls and won her.

She is the woman I dedicated Mattie's Pledge to:

Bessie didn't have an easy life, but who did in the decades surrounding the turn of the century...the last century? Born in 1883, she raised five daughters and moved several times as her husband traveled between Michigan and Indiana, planting churches wherever he was called. She was ill much of the time with bouts of malaria, measles, mumps, whooping cough - all contracted as an adult. When the flu epidemic of 1918 swept the nation, she was sick for weeks. At the same time she was quietly fighting rheumatoid arthritis. There was no treatment for the disease then - the victims slowly watched their joints become weaker, more swollen, and more painful with every year.

But I never heard her complain. I remember her beautiful roses planted in a hedge at the edge of her yard. I remember her huge garden. I remember her lovely white hair and bright brown eyes.

I remember her dedication to her church and her faith...the dedication she has passed on to her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, and great-great-great grandchildren.

I don't know what dreams Bessie put away when she dedicated her life to her Lord, but I know that her deepest heart's desire has been achieved as she has joined the "great cloud of witnesses."

As the character of Mattie Schrock was forming in my mind, I thought often of Bessie and her life. I am thankful for the example she set for me, and that I can pass on to my family.

Don't you think that is worth a book dedication?

Do you have someone in your life who has been an example of faith and service? Tell us about them!

Jan Drexler loves her family, her home, cooking and just about anything made by hand. But she loves her Lord most of all.

Stop by Jan's website to learn more about her books:


  1. Oh, what a fun post! (First, we LOVE molasses cookies. I'll have to try this!)

    How beautiful to see that old picture come up right as your new book arrives. There are no coincidences!

    Let's see. My parents were both the first Christians in many generations of secular scientists, converting during college in the 60's. That must have been interesting. Lol. I remember my grandparents being tolerant of us leaving on Sunday for church, but they looked uncomfortable if there was a blessing at the table, etc. It just wasn't something they understood.

    Love the Sherck and Shrock names! I do have a wedding certificate from 1835 where my (more than three greats) grandparents were married in MA after meeting at a Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). It's fun to see the dozens of names as witnesses, and because those names have been passed down the Hathaway line to the present generation! James, Abraham (my son's middle name, every oldest child has carried the name), Arthur, Mary, Virginia, Jane, Samuel (both my son and my brother are named Samuel, with many more going back), etc. But as far as I know, they weren't really attached to the Quaker community and soon moved west.

    On my husband's side, they're new Christians, too, relatively. They're from the Nahuatl indigenous group and converted in secret after hearing a series of sermons that Miguel Pro gave in a friend's house. The Mexican Revolution was a very dangerous time for Christians and the 1917 Constitution outlawed any public preaching, holding services, religious education,etc.

    (Miguel Pro was a priest who learned the Nahuatl language and traveled in disguise, all services were at night and in the near dark. He was killed by firing squad in 1927 after shouting "Viva Cristo Rey". Long live Christ the king.) They published pictures of the execution in the paper, thinking it would be a deterrent to new believers, but had the opposite effect. You can read more about him here.

    So, although we don't have endless generations of believers behind us, I like to think we've got some gutsy ones!

    1. Ooohhhh....I love this snippet into your heritage, Virginia. How exciting. What a rich heritage for your children. It really shows how what we do matters generations later.

    2. Virginia, that's an amazing story as well!

    3. A fascinating history, Mary Jane/Virginia!

      It sounds like your children have an awesome legacy of family members risking everything for their faith. We often hear that it only takes one generation to lose the thread of faith in a family or nation...but it also only takes one generation to grasp hold of that faith and cling to it through the storms.

      And the story of Miguel Pro! I had not heard of him before, and that makes me wonder how many people have given their lives as he did that we don't know about. But their dedication and sacrifice lives on...sometimes even centuries later.

  2. WOW! I didn't realize that was such a long comment. LOL

  3. I have never had success baking with molasses with the exception of gingerbread cookies. I've tried molasses cookie recipes galore and a few cake recipes and they all taste vile. Like drinking straight from the molasses carton. Yuck. So I might get brave and try this and see if I can break the curse. I only ever buy molasses once a year -- at Christmas time to make the gingerbread. That's when I get adventurous and try random recipes to use up the rest of the molasses.

    Sigh -- no rich family history here. I have some names and dates but no stories. I've always envied people with a rich family legacy so I'm basking in your heritage -- and Virginia's.

    Oh -- and I think there might be two kinds of molasses, right? Maybe I've been using the wrong kind? I seem to remember dithering over the selection each December.

    1. There are a couple different kinds of molasses. I know blackstrap molasses is pretty potent. :) And then there's dark molasses, and light molasses...

      If you don't like the molasses taste, just get the lightest or most generic that's available.

      The thing about these cookies, though, is that there is only a quarter cup in the recipe. The ginger, clove, and cinnamon flavors are in the foreground.

      And your parent's story is fascinating, if I remember right, isn't it?

    2. And maybe it's time for you to be bitten by the genealogy bug. Names and dates are all you need to get started. ;)

  4. What a beautiful post, Jan! I loved hearing about your great-grandmother! What a sweet dedication. I know she's proud of you!

    1. OH, and I also meant to say I can't wait to try this recipe! I'm not usually a cookie baker, but I may just have to try this.

    2. Thanks, Missy!

      And this is a great recipe for non-cookie-bakers. It makes a small batch, mixes up quickly, and freezes well. :)

  5. I am making these this week... I love good molasses cookies, and I had so much fun sampling different ones after the Sisters of St. Joseph holiday sale last year... So Jan, I'm making these THIS WEEK.... and I want to eat them all.


  6. And I have an unopened bottle of coconut oil... Clearly it is a sign!!!!!

    1. Definitely a sign!

      But don't eat them all...share them. :) All those kiddoes around need to learn about the best things in life, right?

  7. Ooo... I must try these, Jan. I love molasses cookies. They bring back memories of the small bakery in the town I grew up in. Yummy!