Photo: Oxmoor House
15 Mins
Cook Time
11 Mins
Other Time
1 Hour
Makes 3 dozen

For centuries Southerners have treasured their jars of molasses—the cooked-down sugar cane mixture that is thick, brown, sticky and sharp with tangy flavor. From the hills of Tennessee to the plains of Georgia, the syrup was a table condiment for drizzling on biscuits and pancakes, or stirring into desserts. Still a treat today, the strong, sweet flavor of molasses balances well with a team of spices in these soft, chewy cookies crusted with sugar.

How to Make It

Step 1

Beat shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add 1 cup granulated sugar, beating well. Add egg and molasses; beat well.

Step 2

Combine flour and next 8 ingredients, stirring well. Add one-fourth of flour mixture at a time to shortening mixture, beating at low speed after each addition until blended. Cover and chill 1 hour.

Step 3

Shape dough into 1-inch balls, and roll in sparkling sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Step 4

Bake at 375° for 9 to 11 minutes. (Tops will crack.) Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Southern Living Best Loved Cookies

Ratings & Reviews

allgray824's Review

January 25, 2010
Everyone liked these cookies. Big Time favorite.

July 31, 2016
I thought I still had my little recipe booklets from our trip to the Home Extention during a 4-H trip.  This was about 56 years ago! I still have the Brides Guide and several others but can't find my Cookie Book.  The only differences are the allspice (no allspice in my recipe) and the recipe calls for a liquid dropper which I buy at the Pharmacy.  And you top each rolled ball in sugar and you drop three drops of water to make the crackled top!

laebrown's Review

December 18, 2010
Exactly what I was looking for when I wanted to make what I've known for years as Ginger Snaps. Very straightforward recipe and easy to put together, although I just used my hand in lieu of an electric mixer.Stayed loyal to the recipe, but threw in a few quick splashes of water to bring the dough together before shaping it.Used Christmas-colored sugar for rolling, and they were a bit hit! :D

Laura48741's Review

December 21, 2009
This recipe is everything I hoped it would be. I prefer soft cookies and it is hard to find a good soft spice cookie recipe. This recipe is a keeper. It will become part of my Christmas baking tradition, and make an excellent addition to my rotation for fresh baked gifts!

heathermckune1's Review

August 15, 2014
These cookies are really good. I didn't have the ground ginger on hand so i added some extra cinnamon.

Mmercado0323's Review

September 06, 2014
I was in the mood for some spiced cookies so I decided to try this recipe. These cookies are awesome! I ate about 5 and brought the rest to work for my co-workers. Each and every person loved them. Definitely give this recipe a try. FYI: When you take them out the oven they look a tad under cook but don't worry...they will be so soft and chewy. I baked them on a Sunday night and they were still soft the following Wednesday.

Coelle's Review

December 08, 2009
I make a similar cookie by leaving out the cloves and allspice, but adding Golden Raisins..the rest is the same...they are excellent! I got the recipe from a winner on Good Morning America several years ago. These are always on my cookie list at Christmas time.

MPorter's Review

December 11, 2009
These cookies are excellent!

cleo1946's Review

January 08, 2013
These are really easy, and really delicous. Great holiday cookie that I will likely make all year round.

Susank1942's Review

December 10, 2009
Good, easy recipe. My husband loves gingerbread cookies and these are just as tasty and easier to make. Will bake to share with family and friends for the holidays.