We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Molasses Cookies?

By Elizabeth West
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Baked with ginger and other spices, molasses cookies go great with coffee or milk, and have a warm appeal during the winter months. A byproduct of sugar-making from sugar cane or sugar beets, molasses contains nutrients refined out of the finished sugar product. In Britain, where it is used frequently, it's known as treacle. Most countries that use molasses have found a way to incorporate it into baked treats.

Molasses cookies have been around in the US since colonial times, when sugar was expensive and molasses was the preferred sweetener. Molasses cookies are a popular way for contemporary cooks to use the old-fashioned syrup. Of the three grades of molasses, first and second are the sweetest, and blackstrap is the darkest and most concentrated. Cookies are usually made with the two lighter grades.

Gingerbread men are a traditional cookie made with molasses. Their first appearance was in the court of Elizabeth I of England. Very popular with children, gingerbread men can be decorated with icing, candies, or simply cut with cookie cutters in the shape of a little person. Gingerbread houses, cards, and even pets are common other shaped forms. These cookies were immortalized in a popular nursery rhyme, first published in St. Nicholas magazine in 1875.

Ginger snaps are crisp sugary molasses cookies that contain brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. These cookies are thought to have originated in medieval Germany when molasses and honey were the only sweeteners available, long before the advent of refined sugar. Numerous companies produce packaged varieties of ginger snaps, but true cookie aficionados will assert that only their favorite homemade recipe will do. Next to gingerbread men, they are probably the most familiar molasses cookie.

Pepparkakor, Swedish ginger snaps, are a more highly spiced version of molasses cookies, and some recipes include allspice and cardamom. The name translates to "pepper cookie," although they don't really contain pepper. Traditionally served at Christmas in Sweden, they are rolled out very thin and left round or cut into decorative shapes like people, animals, or hearts. They are often decorated with icing. Pepparkakor are also used as Christmas ornaments, with a hole punched in the top and a ribbon tied through.

Pfeffernüsse are German molasses cookies also eaten at Christmas. These tiny bite-sized "pepper nut" cookies are made with ground nuts and usually dusted liberally with confectioner's sugar. Some recipes actually do contain small amounts of white or black pepper, and either molasses or honey. They are soft when they first come out of the oven, but grow crisp and hard as they cool. Many people like to dunk them in a beverage before eating.

decorated with candies and icing, molasses cookies remain a favorite of cookie lovers worldwide. Nearly every cookbook has a recipe for molasses cookies, and several recipes are available online.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.