Crafting Articles

The Kitchen Witch

Molasses Crinkles

When we think of Valentine’s Day, it’s normal to think of big heart-shaped boxes of chocolates for our loved ones – “sweets for the sweets” – and who doesn’t love to get one of these beautiful boxes of chocolates – usually accompanied by a big bouquet of red roses? I mean – I know I do!

But – there are other ways to show how much we care for our loved ones. I personally think a nice home baked spice cookie says a whole lot more – and who isn’t ready for a spicy night on Valentine’s Day?

Molasses Crinkles is my favorite spice cookie. There are dozens of spice cookies out there – including holiday gingerbread cookies – but as far as I’m concerned, nothing compares to Molasses Crinkles. They are an old recipe – they were in the first Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook – the one that was published way back in 1950. My mother had this cookbook – I learned to cook with this cookbook. Depending on your age, maybe your mother or your grandmother has this cookbook. They’re not easy to find nowadays. Those of us who have a copy don’t give them away. My copy was my late mother-in-law’s – none of her daughters or her granddaughters wanted it. I cherish it.

When I was a kid, my mother made these cookies all the time. I liked them, but I preferred Chocolate Chip Cookies or Brownies or really, anything that had chocolate in them. And that is still true – I am a true chocoholic. But as I have gotten older, I find that I love spice cookies almost as much as the cookies that are partly or wholly chocolate. And definitely – Molasses Crinkles are among my absolute favorites.

Before you make these cookies, you should know that there are five kinds of molasses – blackstrap, light, dark (sometimes called medium), treacle and sorghum, which technically is not a molasses. These cookies work best with light or dark/medium molasses. Because all I had was blackstrap, that’s what I used. The recipe calls for a quarter of a cup and if you’re using blackstrap molasses, you will want to cut that back just a tad – blackstrap molasses is very strong. But if you like a strong molasses taste, then use the entire quarter of a cup. It’s up to you. But I recommend using a light molasses for these cookies.

Here’s the recipe:

Molasses Crinkles

Cream together:

¾ cup soft shortening (I use butter and ¾ cup is a stick and a half)

1 cup soft light brown sugar (remember to push the sugar into the cup!)

Beat in: 1 egg

Mix in: ¼ cup molasses


Stir well until everything is well blended.


In another bowl, sift together:

2 ¼ cups sifted flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger


Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. It may seem a bit difficult, but they will blend!

After the dough is completely fused, it has to chill for at least a half an hour or more – I usually let it chill for two hours at least.

When you are ready to bake these cookies, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190.55 Celsius). Grease your baking sheets well or use parchment paper – I use parchment paper and personally, I think that’s the only way to go. The cookies never stick and it makes cleaning up wicked easy – there’s almost no cleaning up whatsoever. Just your mixing bowls and spoons.

You will need a small bowl of white sugar.

Roll the dough into balls the size of walnuts. Dip tops into the sugar and place, sugared-side-up, on the baking sheet. I usually press them down a little bit so they don’t roll around when I put them into the oven.

Bake about ten minutes until just set but not hard. Let them set a minute before you take them off the baking sheet and put them onto the cooling tray.

You always think of cookies and milk but these cookies pair really well with white wine and believe it or not – with champagne! They also pair really well with fruit – especially grapes – also orange sections and apples slices.

So on Valentine’s Day, whether you are going out to dinner or staying in for an intimate meal with your loved one, try these spicy Molasses Crinkles for your dessert instead of the usual chocolates. If you have a fireplace, you will have a spicy end – or maybe a beginning – to a wonderful night!

*photographs & text © polly macdavid 2022


About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan but she gets along with a few of the masculine deities. She loves to cook and she is a Bills fan.

She blogs at She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.