Cape Breton Molasses Biscuits

Servings: 24 serving(s)

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 33 minutes

Cooking time: 18 minutes

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Cape Breton Molasses Biscuits are old fashioned, not-too-sweet, thick-cut molasses cookies. 

Cape Breton Molasses Biscuits: an old fashioned, not-too-sweet, thick-cut molasses cookie.

A little while ago, writer and photographer Kelly Neil wrote a lovely piece in the Halifax Chronicle Herald about two Cape Breton grandmothers. As you may have guessed (or assumed) an East Coast article about grandmothers is bound to include memories of fresh baking and time around the table.

As an added treat, this article included an old fashioned recipe for molasses biscuits, a not-too-sweet, thick cut soft molasses cookie.

Cape Breton Molasses Biscuits: an old fashioned, not-too-sweet, thick-cut molasses cookie.

The recipe is very similar to our recipe for Katie’s Fat Molasses Cookies, Lassy Buns and Pubnico Molasses Cookies. It shows how recipes can travel from place to place, gathering new stories over time.

My version below includes a couple of slight modifications to the original recipe as it was printed in the paper. I replaced the shortening with butter and doubled the amount of ginger.

The dough is quite soft but resist the urge to add too much extra flour when you’re rolling or patting them out.

Cape Breton molasses biscuits are good served with butter, peanut butter or a slice of cheese.


Cape Breton Molasses Biscuits Recipe

Makes about 2 dozen biscuits (using a 2 ½” round cookie cutter)


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 cup Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 1/2 cup milk soured with 1 Tbsp. vinegar*
  • 4 1/2 cups flour, spooned in
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp. ginger

*To sour the milk: Add 1 Tbsp. vinegar to ½ cup measuring cup and fill with milk. Let sit 5 minutes until it curdles.


  1. Preheat oven to 350º F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar.
  3. Beat in the egg, then the molasses and milk.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and spices.
  5. Stir dry into the wet mixture in two additions (don’t over mix).
  6. Scrape dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll ½” thick.
  7. Cut into rounds and prick with a fork.
  8. Bake 16-18 minutes, until the tops just bounce back.
  9. Let cool on the pan.

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14 thoughts on “Cape Breton Molasses Biscuits

  1. Dorcas says:

    I have been looking for a receipt like this. I am originally from NB and my Mom use to make these cookies. She never did use a written receipt and we foolishly never did write it out.

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Dorcas, So glad you discovered the recipe. I hope the cookies are just like your mom’s.

    2. N.stafford says:

      Yes, my moms molasses cookies were the best as well. She was from NB and baked these all the time when
      I was small. No recipe just threw them together. They always came out the same. Perfect.

  2. Catherine says:

    Thanks Bridget for modifying this recipe!
    I copied it from the Cape Breton Post but I didn’t want to use shortening. I wasn’t sure how or if I could substitute butter. It’s as though you read my mind!

  3. nancy lavigne says:

    Please send me the free cookbook that you advertise on the molasses containers.
    My eyes are too far gone for email recipes. Thank you. I love molasses and use it a lot.
    please send to me at

    Nancy Lavigne
    2811 – 67 Ave.
    Lloydminster AB
    T9V 3H6

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Nancy, We’ll get a copy in the mail to you this month.

  4. Colleen Withrow says:

    My Mother made these cookies, but would have collected bacon fat and added with the butter. These cookies were a staple in our home because my Father loved these treasures and would have for lunch or dinner dessert. My Grandmother made the crisp ginger version, also very tasty.

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Colleen, I love your story. I’d use bacon fat for the recipe if I had it on hand!

  5. shirley bergen says:

    I have enjoyed baking more since getting your helpful hints like ‘use eggs at room temp.” Why? When I baked the Cape Breton biscuits I was shocked at how much sugar so I halved it. I ran out of molasses so I used 2 oz molasses and 6 oz corn syrup. My family was happy because they do not like the taste of molasses as much as I do. I also skipped spices except ginger. It was still a sharp snappy biscuit – not too sweet.

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Shirley, Thanks so much for your message. I love the idea of reducing the sugar in that recipe — great suggestion.

  6. Barb Morrison says:

    Hi, I saw that nice article about the 2 grandmothers in the Herald and I actually saved the recipe. But of course, I want to try this one for Cape Breton Molasses Biscuits. I haven’t had a recipe from here fail yet! Being a born & bred Cape Bretoner you caught my eye with this post. I’m not sure if they are the same thing we called Fat Archies – similar for sure. Thank you!! :-)

  7. Caron. Harker says:

    Hello. Bridget. Love these recipes here. My new best brownie is yours !

  8. Sheila champion says:

    I found 4 1/2 cups was not enough had to keep adding flour so I could handle it. The taste was there

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Sheila, Yes, the dough is so soft. I often use a dough scraper to manage it without adding extra flour.

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