Aunt Marcia’s Soft Molasses Thumbprint Cookies

Servings: 24-30 serving(s)

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

Cooking time: 28 minutes

soft molasses thumbprint cookies

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 made a thumbprint version of Aunt Marcia’s molasses cookies.

soft molasses thumbprint cookies

Soft Molasses Thumbprint Cookie Recipe

Makes 2 ½ to 3 dozen.

  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • ½ cup Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • ¼ cup strong tea with 1 ½ tsp. baking soda (can use hot water)
  • 1 ½ tsp. ginger
  • ½ tsp. cream of tartar (or 1 tsp. white vinegar or lemon juice)*
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 ½ – 3 cups flour (plus more for rolling out)
  • Jam (optional)

*If using vinegar or lemon juice in place of cream of tartar, add it with the molasses mixture.

  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, cream of tartar and flour (start with 2 ½ cups). Add dry to wet ingredients and mix well.
  3. 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.
  5. With your thumb press a gentle dent in the top of the cookie and fill with ½ tsp. of jam.
  6. Bake at 350 F on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 10-14 minutes.


Subscribe to our recipe updates…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email. We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. It includes cooking tips, menu ideas, featured recipes and more. Here’s the link to subscribe. 

14 thoughts on “Aunt Marcia’s Soft Molasses Thumbprint Cookies

  1. MJ Mann says:

    Love molasses everything.

  2. esther says:

    love these cookies and other reci

  3. Anne Donovan says:

    They look amazing.

  4. Anne Donovan says:

    They look amazing.Thanks for posting

  5. Georgina Stafford says:

    I have a Crosby’s cookbook that is very old(was handed down) I love using it and am now finding that some of your newer recipes are very interesting. I look forward to trying them. Georgina

  6. Deborah Ross says:

    When I read your latest post about your AMAZING Aunt Marcia, I was struck by the amount of intensive labour involved in creating her preserves and baking. The chopping, bottling and sterilizing, the baking and packaging of all these wonderful treats…all this work…all to share and send home with your family… I call them love gifts

  7. Jocelyne Morin says:

    Just love your recipes, thank you again to share.

  8. Barbara Miller says:

    enjoy the old east coast recipes

  9. Joan Ellsworth says:

    Very yummy

  10. Dianne says:

    My Mom baked the same way. Her response to how much was “until it feels right”. I tried making her molasses cookies once, dismal failure. This sounds like the same or a very similar recipe. Can’t wait to try it.

  11. Matthew says:

    Does it matter how round I make these?

  12. Kmbold says:

    I have a Soft Molasses Cooky Recipe from ancient days (mine). Very delicious but absent a thumbprint and jam. I didn’t see it last Christmas in the massive pile of recipes I need to cull. I shall give this one a try.
    Thank you.

  13. Ashley says:

    I made these with gluten free flour and they were delicious! Although I pressed them into shape rather than rolled them, gf batter is stickier and not fun to roll.

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Ashley, Thanks for the tip. I have never made a GF version of this recipe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *