The Adult Side of Molasses Cookies

Ah the classic comfort of cookies and … a good beer. In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger: “milk is for babies, when you grow up you have to drink beer.” And with that, I suppose I should start from the beginning …

I am always in search of good recipes from local restaurants. And Maura Kilpatrick, pastry chef of Oleana and Sofra Bakery and Cafe, has yet to let me down. Consequently, her spicy molasses cookies are perfection. They are crispy and chewy, with enough spice to remind you that the molasses cookie is a cookie that means business.

I'm quite serious when it comes to molasses. I like to use blackstrap; it’s earthy and slightly bitter. It's also a good source of iron. (Try to rationalize yourself out of a cookie that will make you stronger the more you eat it: I dare you.) Perhaps it’s the 80 year-old woman in me, but I love molasses cookies; they seem equal parts medicinal and decadent. But whereas grandma might pour you a nice glass of milk to wash yours down, I’ll offer up beer instead.

It may sound like an odd combination but these spicy, saucy little numbers can take the booze. And while I don’t tend to keep gallons of milk in my fridge, I do keep beer. And I did have a growler of Harpoon UFO in there. (A gal’s gotta have a port in the storm.) So Sunday I took my—not for the meek—molasses cookies and my handle of beer and headed off to a Super Bowl party. (When you are up against hot wings, you really have to bring it.) The citrusy orange notes in the UFO worked off the spices in the cookie. As did the fruitiness of the Magic Hat #9, that followed.

I thought I was really on to something. It turns out, this combination of beer and molasses is not a new one. The sticky stuff actually landed itself in George Washington's beer making recipe. Our first President was really on to something, apparently.

So, will I go out on a ledge and say that beer compliments molasses cookies better than milk? Yes, I think I will. Especially, if I am in the company of one beer-swilling Washington. This is a grownup molasses cookie that needs something adult to hang with. This is a cookie with personality, perhaps the Schwarzenegger of cookies. They are not to be missed. You might even find yourself echoing, “I’ll be back.” Especially, if there is a good beer involved.

Spiced Molasses Cookies with Candied Ginger
Adapted from Sofra Bakery & Cafe

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated if possible
1/2 tsp cloves, freshly ground if possible
pinch of ground ginger
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1 cup sugar, plus an additional ~1/4 cup before the cookies are baked
1 large egg
~3 tbsp finely diced candied ginger

Combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices in a bowl. In the bowl of a mixer, combine oil, molasses, sugar and egg and beat with paddle attachment for about 15-20 seconds, until well combined, but not too airy. Slowly add dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Mix in candied ginger by hand (this also helps to ensure the dry and wet ingredients are fully combined).

Chill the dough for 2 hours and allow to come to room temperature before baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Use a small ice cream scoop or melon baller to scoop the dough (about 1 tbsp or so) and then roll dough into a small ball with you hands and lightly coat about about 1/2 of the ball by rolling it in a bowl with ~1/4 cup sugar.

Place onto a cookie sheet and bake for about 12 minutes. (They will appear undercooked, but will continue to set as they cool).

Makes about 3 dozen

-I am a sucker for cloves, and I ground them with a mortar and pestle just before adding them in. Just lovely.

-In addition to iron, blackstrap molasses also has calcium, potassium and magnesium. Oh, and it's delicious.

-These cookies will really spread as they cook, so be sure to space them far enough apart on your cookie sheet, between 9-12 cookies per sheet worked for me.


  1. Also a sucker for cloves, super love blackstrap molasses, just found a fantastic oat bread recipe that calls for a full cup. I fed my daughter some for dinner and thought about the bounty of iron. Also have an 80 year old soul. <3

  2. I'm not normally into molasses but these cookies look amazing.

  3. My first instinct is to pour a glass of milk when I have cookies, but I never thought of beer! And I LOVE molasses cookies, so I shall try this combination of beer and molasses cookies when I have both around at the same time! Sounds good to me :)

  4. Wow. Is this a more intensively flavoured ginger cookie?

  5. Ha, can you tell I love ginger? And cloves? And molasses? Really, anything with sugar and spice ... and everything nice? :)

  6. These look fantastic! As strange as this sounds, my favorite all-time cookie is the chewy vegan ginger molasses cookies from Whole Foods. These might knock those off first place. Can't wait to try them.

  7. I certainly am not put off by the idea. My favorite ginger bread is made with stout and serving beer with, rather than beer in is a lovely extension of that idea. This is my first visit to your blog and I've spent some time browsing through your earlier entries. I really like the food and recipes you feature here and I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  8. Eating Well has a molasses crackle recipe very similar to this that I use all the time. I love putting candied ginger in for a nice surprise. And with beer? Who woulda thunk it!

  9. Genius!

    As someone who loves richly-spiced baked goods, and who never developed a taste for plain milk, this combination sounds deliciously up my alley. :)

  10. Beer and cookies, I love it! Like you, I also love molasses, only I don't use it nearly enough. Need to fix that!

  11. i never heard that quote from ah-nold. good to know he can say more than 'i'll be bahck.' :)
    tasty, tasty cookies. these are a definite favorite.

  12. Lovely combination of spices. The cookies look very similar to gingersnap cookies. But beer instead of milk? :-Þ

  13. I can think of nothing better than molasses. Except cookies containing molasses with beer and words of wisdom from Arnold. Can't wait to try this recipe!

  14. I love reading your posts. You always make me crack up with your analogies of cooking and the "spices" of life. I am now thinking of Arnold while I am biting on a cookie? Thanks very much? Suzanne L

  15. making these right now. The cookie dough alone is dangerously good. Thanks!

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