Food & Drink

Molasses Cookies

Makes about 36 cookies

Brian Noyes of Red Truck Bakery in Marshall, Virginia, shares the perfect sweet treat to greet (or conjure) cold weather

Photo: Andrew Thomas Lee

“I often substitute sorghum syrup for other sweeteners in our recipes, but this is not one of those times; only dark molasses will do here,” says Brian Noyes, founder of Red Truck Bakery in Marshall, Virginia, and author of the new Red Truck Bakery Cookbook. “The tar-thick syrup has a pleasant bite that is well complemented by a covey of cold-weather spices: clove, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. When we start baking off batches of these cookies in early October, Main Street fills up with the aroma (I’ve smelled them in the post office down the block), so customers know they’re in the oven before they even walk through the front door. I think of them as a first taste of the holidays, although hooked customers continue to ask for them year-round.”


    • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted

    • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

    • 1 tablespoon ground ginger

    • ¼ cup chopped crystallized ginger

    • 1 teaspoon ground cloves

    • 2 teaspoons baking soda

    • ½ teaspoon baking powder

    • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt

    • 1 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature

    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

    • 1½ cups granulated sugar

    • ½ cup molasses

    • 2 large eggs

    • 2 cups Demerara or turbinado sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat three baking sheets with nonstick spray.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, crystallized ginger, cloves, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the shortening, butter, granulated sugar, and molasses on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat in the eggs on medium speed until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and beat in half the flour mixture on medium speed until smooth. Add the remaining flour and beat until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill dough for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.

  4. Put the Demerara sugar in a medium bowl. Portion out 2 rounded tablespoons of dough and, using your hands, roll them into balls. Roll the dough balls through the Demerara sugar to coat. Place them on the prepared baking sheets about 3 inches apart and slightly flatten them with your palm.

  5. Bake for 10 minutes, turning the baking sheets halfway through, until the tops are slightly puffy and cracked. Let the cookies cool on the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a raised wire rack to finish cooling. Store in an airtight jar or plastic bag for up to 3 days, or freeze in a plastic bag for up to 3 months.

Recipe reprinted from Red Truck Bakery Cookbook: Gold-Standard Recipes from America’s Favorite Rural Bakery. Copyright © 2018 by Brian Noyes. Photographs copyright © 2018 by Andrew Thomas Lee. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.