Aunt Marcia’s Soft Molasses Thumbprint Cookies

Molasses thumbprint cookies
Molasses Thumbprint Cookies are soft and beautifully spiced with ginger. Whole white flour gives them extra flavour.

My husband’s Aunt Marcia is a true old fashioned baker. She goes by feel when it comes to cooking and her hands and a tea cup are her measuring implements. And she always gets it just right.
She used to fry her famous doughnuts in an open pot, without a thermometer. Instead she’d lean her face over the shimmering vat of oil to feel the steam against her cheek and that’s how she’d judge if the temperature was right for frying.
When we’d visit she’d load our car with her homemade treats: chokecherry wine, pickled watermelon rind, candied pumpkin, homemade doughnuts, date-filled oatmeal cookies and her comforting soft molasses cookies. Visit after visit these molasses cookies sustained us during the long drive home from Northern New Brunswick.

soft molasses thumbprint cookies
I have her son Leonard to thank for the written recipe. He spent a lifetime watching Aunt Marcia make these cookies so figured out the quantities and wrote them down.
The beauty of a cookie like this is that they’re a not-too-sweet treat and are as good with a slice of cheese or dab of peanut butter as they are on their own. The cookies are soft, but not in a cake-like way so travel well too. Here I have cut the original recipe in half.

Aunt Marcia’s Soft Molasses Cookies

  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup strong tea with 1 ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp. ginger
  • ½ tsp. cream of tartar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 ½ – 3 cups whole white flour
  • Jam (optional)
  1. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar. Add egg and beat well. Add molasses and tea mixture and beat until well combined.
  2. In another bowl combine the ginger, flour, cream of tartar and flour (start with 2 ½ cups).
  3. Add dry to wet ingredients and mix well. Scrape dough out onto a lightly floured counter and gently knead in additional four until the dough is no longer sticky.
  4. Roll out ¼” thick and cut into rounds. With your thumb press a gentle dent in the top of the cookie and fill with ½ tsp. of jam.
  5. Bake at 350 F on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 10-14 minutes. Makes 2 ½ to 3 dozen.



  1. Oh my, these look great, and I know what you mean by soft but not cakey. That's exactly what I've been looking for!
    Also I can't imagine using my face to judge the heat over a pot of hot oil, lol. I'd probably burn my face off!

  2. Such a good idea to change up a thumbprint cookie! These sound amazing.


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