Joe Froggers Molasses Cookies – an old fashioned recipe for oversized molasses cookies that dates back to the late 18th century. They’re soft, chewy and flavored with spices – ginger, cloves nutmeg and allspice. Perfect for the holidays!
The History behind Joe Froggers Cookies
I found this Joe Froggers Molasses Cookies recipe in my grandmother’s old recipe box. She cut it out of Parade Magazine around 1979. Here is the description of Old-Time Cookies or Joe Froggers by Beth Merriman (Parade Food Editor):
Next time you are planning a summertime treat – serve “Joe Froggers” – big, delicious molasses cookies. They’re made from a recipe that is over 100 years old – the pride of one man, “Uncle Joe,” as he was known to the people of Marblehead, Mass. Since he lived on the edge of a frog pond, the cookies soon became known as “Joe Froggers.”
After Uncle Joe died, his daughter gave the recipe to a fisherman’s wife, and soon most of the women in town were making the cookies. Children bought them for a penny apiece in a local bake shop and today they are served in the Publick House in the colonial village in Sturbridge, Mass.
Why Are They Named Joe Froggers?
Joe Froggers Molasses Cookies are named after Joseph Brown. He owned a tavern in Marblehead, Massachusets. His wife, Lucretia, came up with the recipe. They called the cookies froggers because they were as big as lily pads. Click here to learn more about the story behind these cookies.
(See below for the photo of my grandmother’s newspaper clipping of the recipe.)
How to Make Joe Froggers Molasses Cookies
Whisk together your dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice.
Cream together shortening and sugar. Add molasses and beat well.
Alternate adding flour mixture and water until dough forms.
Refrigerate overnight, then roll dough to 1/4″ thick. Cut into circles and bake at 375°F for 8-9 minutes.
Helpful Hints for this Recipe
Make sure you allow enough time to chill the dough overnight.
Allow at least 1-2 inches between cookies when baking.
They freeze well! Make sure to store in an airtight container.
You can sprinkle with sugar before baking, if desired, but I found them sweet enough.
This recipe is vegan as it contains no milk, eggs or butter.
NOTE: YOU CAN MAKE THIS RECIPE GLUTEN FREE BY SUBSTITUTING THE FLOUR. (SEE RECIPE BELOW.)
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TOOLS FOR SUCCESS
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Joe Froggers Molasses Cookies
- 4 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (substitute gluten free flour, if desired)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup molasses
- 1/3 cup water, plus 1 tablespoon
- In a medium bowl, mix whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.
- Cream shortening and sugar with an electric mixer on medium (or by hand). Add molasses and beat well. With mixer on low, add flour mixture and water alternately, beating until well blended after each addition. Divide dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap; chill overnight.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll dough one-half at a time, about 1/4-inch thick. Cut with floured 4-inch round cookie cutter. Bake on parchment lined sheet pans or lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until just done but not browned around edges. Cool on racks. Store in airtight container. Makes 2 dozen cookies.
- Note: If you use a 3.5-inch round cookie cutter, then you will get 28 cookies. Also, if you want to make these cookies gluten free, simply substitute the flour with gluten free flour. I tested the recipe that way as well and it worked great.
All text and images © Lise Ode for Mom Loves Baking. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe. Disclaimer: Nutrition information shown is not guaranteed to be accurate. This post may contain affiliate links.