These are the perfect old fashioned, soft molasses cookies! They are very tender and slightly chewy, with a little crispy sugar on the outside. Served with a cold glass of milk, or a hot cup of coffee – these Amish molasses cookies will have you reaching for another and another. Yes, this is an authentic Amish recipe, as my mother was Amish and this is her recipe. Hope you enjoy!
How to make molasses cookies
First, place the shortening and sugar in a bowl and mix them well with an electric mixer. Next, add the egg, vanilla, and milk. Mix well.
Then, add flour and spices and stir. The dough may be too stiff for the mixer; if so, use a sturdy spoon. Chill the dough. Roll into balls and dip balls in sugar. The sugar makes a wonderful crispy crust on these cookies.
Place on a greased pan and bake for approximately 10-12 minutes. They should still look a bit wet in the center when you remove them from the oven. They will be puffed up. Allow them to stand on the pan for several minutes, till they sink down and cool slightly. Place on wire rack to finish cooling. You can purchase some racks from Amazon:
The cookies will be raised up when you take them from the oven. They will sink naturally as they cool. This is good, and will make them soft and chewy. These cookies – when baked properly – will be so soft they will break very easily. They do not ship well. But they will be loved by everyone!
I have had many people tell me they didn’t like molasses cookies until they tasted mine. This is likely because the cookies are so, so soft. If you do bake them longer, they go chewy first. But they quickly overtake and become crunchy. If that happens, use this burnt cookie dessert recipe to salvage them. No cookies go to waste!
Tips for soft-baked cookies
These cookies need a very delicate touch with baking. You can’t just set a timer and go. You need to watch them carefully the first time, and keep track of how many minutes they are in the oven. Note that time on your recipe, and refer to it the next time you make the recipe. Because these cookies go from soft and chewy — to dry and hard, really fast!
I set the timer for 7 minutes, then take a quick peak. I will then set the timer for 2 or 3 minutes, and check again. If you are new to baking, don’t get discouraged! Watching how a cookie progresses as it bakes is a great way to build your baking skills! Pretty soon, you will know about how many minutes they need yet just from watching a batch of cookies from start to finish.
You don’t want to have the oven open constantly; that allows too much heat to escape. But, a quick check every 2-3 minutes will help you determine how long they need to bake. And don’t depend on the oven light – looking through the oven door is not precise enough for cookies. (or anything, really) You must open the oven door, and maybe even pull the pan out a bit, so you can get a good view of the color and texture. This sounds difficult, but it’s really not! Just practice!
I like to use the Stopwatch feature on my phone, and see how long the cookies are in the oven. Then for the next panful of cookies, I set the timer for that time. It really helps! I have the general time listed here, but cookie-baking times can vary extremely – from moisture in the air, altitude, what type of shortening you use, and more.
Amish Molasses Cookies for gifts
Cookies make such great gifts! Wrap a plateful for that new neighbor, or for that elderly couple who get lonely. Homemade cookies are such a classic yet welcome gift for nearly every situation, but especially at Christmas.
You can also sell these at holiday craft fairs, school fundraisers, or take to Christmas cookie swaps, or my favorite: bake and freeze ahead of time so I can pull out a plate of cookies over the holidays. These are so soft that you can pull them out of the freezer and eat partially frozen! I have some kids who love eating frozen treats, haha! Check out these different ways to package cookies for sale.
Old fashioned soft Molasses Cookies
- ¾ cup butter OR vegetable shortening
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup molasses
- 2 Tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup sugar for dipping
- Put butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat well with electric mixer.
- Add egg, milk, molasses, and vanilla, and mix well.
- Add flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and stir. If the dough is too stiff for a mixer, use a sturdy spoon to stir.
- Chill one hour or more.
- Roll dough into 24 small balls and roll in sugar. Place on baking tray and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Cool on tray for 5 minutes, remove to wire rack and cool completely.