Nanny’s Molasses Cookies

Soft, pillowy cookies, bursting with holiday flavours of molasses and cloves. These are one of my most special family recipes. If you love cookies, keep reading for a lot of Canadian cookie love!


Way back in May, I teamed up with my Canadian Food Creatives blogging buddies for a strawberry celebration (see my streusel squares here!) We’ve got another event this month, and have joined up with friends from the Food Bloggers of Canadian community for a huge Canadian Cookie Collaboration! I’m proud to be one of the hosts of this event, along with Kacey from The Cookie Writer and Evelyne from CulturEatz.

Cookie Collage Final.jpg

Welcome to this very special Canadian Cookie Collaboration between the Canadian Food Creatives and the Canadian Christmas Cookie Exchange. #CDNFoodCreatives
Visit these Canadian Bloggers to save all of these sweet holiday cookie recipes:

Sharing is caring! Please post on social media if you like with the hashtag #CDNFoodCreatives!

We’ve got so many different recipes, representing many different cultures, cuisines and celebrations. It truly showcases the variety of special treats we have here in Canada!
So what do I have to contribute to this cookie bonanza? Nanny’s molasses cookies. I talked a lot in this post about my Nanny, and how she influenced my love of baking, among many other aspects of my life. She’s been gone for 2 ½ years, but I still think about her almost every day. I know she’d be very excited about her new great-grandchild, as she was for the previous 13. These molasses cookies were one of her signature recipes, and I had her write it in my recipe notebook many years ago.

In our family, these aren’t strictly a holiday cookie, as they get baked year-round. However, with the molasses, cinnamon and cloves, the flavour profile fits the holidays perfectly. The recipe yields a lot of cookies, so they’re great to take to share. One of these years, you will get my most special family holiday cookie recipe (Grampy’s shortbreads) but despite years of experience I actually haven’t mastered it yet!
For the cookies, you’ll need flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, brown sugar, molasses, shortening, an egg and milk (I’ve successfully used non-dairy milk as well.)

Start by whisking your dry ingredients together.

Cream the shortening and sugar together with a mixer. Beat in the molasses and egg.


Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk. You’ll end up with a soft, sticky dough that’s more like cake batter then a typical cookie dough.

Use a cookie scoop or spoon to drop dollops of dough onto a lined cookie sheet.
Bake the cookies at 350° for 12 – 14 minutes. The original directions say “bake til springs back like cake” and that’s really the best indicator of when they’re done – when the cookie springs back, not leaving a dent, when touched with a fingertip.

This isn’t a cookie dough to make ahead of time – the dough loses its volume quite quickly. The first batch you bake will likely end up with puffier cookies than the last one. Even your first batch will fall and the tops will crinkle a bit. This is one of the few cookie recipes that I usually bake two sheets at once, rotating them halfway through, to get it all baked as quickly as possible.

The cookies will keep in an airtight container for several days, but separate layers with parchment or wax paper to prevent sticking.


Perfect for holiday gift giving!

Dpn’t forget to check out the rest of the cookies in our collaboration.  There are so many unique creations, I’m not sure what I’m going to try first!

Nanny’s Molasses Cookies

  • Servings: 4 – 5 dozen
  • Print


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • ⅔ cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350°.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves in a medium bowl. Cream the shortening and sugar with an electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat in the molasses and egg until combined. Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk, while mixing on low speed.
Use a cookie scoop or spoon to drop tablespoonfuls of dough onto a lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 – 14 minutes, until cookies spring back when touched with a fingertip.


24 thoughts on “Nanny’s Molasses Cookies

  1. maria says:

    What a wonderful tribute to your Nanny! I can see how these cookies would be baked throughout the year. They look perfect Laura! Thanks for sharing and thanks for hosting this collaboration 🙂


  2. tinysweettooth says:

    These look great ! Molasses and all the spices just make me feel warm and comforting. I bake cookies all year long too. My daughter and I both have a sweet tooth ! It was a great round-up, thanks again for organizing ! Have a great holiday !


  3. Taylor Stinson says:

    These look so moist and delicious Laura!!! My grandma also taught me how to bake and I have so many fond memories of cooking with her as a kid (while she did up the dishes…hehe) This year I’m doing a three way shortbread exchange with my grandma and my mom, luckily she also gave me her recipe a few years ago so I know how important it is to keep traditions like that going. I’m sure your nanny would be so happy to know that you still make her signature cookies year round!❤


  4. I Say Nomato (@ISayNomato) says:

    YEEEEES. Is there anything more Christmas than a giant, sweet, soft Molasses cookie? I love how foods can reconnect us with the ones we’ve lost. In a way it’s like they’re still with us in the kitchen, baking along side us when we make their recipes!


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