Soft molasses-raisin cookies: A refreshing summer combo

Nothing beats the simple pleasure of a soft, nicely spicy molasses cookie with a glass of cold milk.

Or a cup of hot coffee.

Or a tall, icy pitcher of fresh-made lemonade.

Lemonade? Get outta town!

Ah, ’tis true, oh disbelieving reader. Molasses cookies and lemonade go together like a horse and carriage – to cite an obsolete pairing

Or like tea and crumpets – if you’re in Merrie Olde.

How about like chocolate cake and milk? Now there’s something we can all relate to (excuse me, to which we can all relate; apologies to Mrs. McGuirk, my 8th grade English teacher, without WHOM I wouldn’t be the grammarian I am today).

This particular molasses cookie recipe happens to be one of my favorites. It’s definitely in the soft/moist camp; if you’re looking for a crunchy ginger/molasses cookie, this ain’t it. (But this is: Gingersnaps.)

Bake up a batch of these cookies and, while they’re in the oven, squeeze the juice from a fresh lemon into a glass. Add sugar to taste; ice cubes, and enough water to make perfect lemonade: not too weak, not too strong.

Grab a warm molasses cookie off its cookie sheet, take a bite, and follow with a refreshing sip of ice-cold lemonade.

Do you hear the angels singing?

Quick, preheat your oven to 350°F; we’re going to make Soft Molasses-Raisin Cookies.

Place the following in the work bowl of a food processor:

1 3/4 cups (7 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup raisins, golden or regular
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
heaping 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (Vietnamese preferred)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Process until the raisins are chopped, though not finely ground.

Note: If you don’t have a food processor and don’t mind your raisins remaining whole, skip this step.

What’s that – you don’t like raisins?

Not unusual; according to informal polls I’ve taken over the years, upwards of 50% of people just don’t care for raisins: no way, no how.

If you’re one of them, this might be a good recipe to test if you REALLY REALLY REALLY don’t like raisins. Here, they practically disappear into the cookie, lending it moist texture and caramel-y sweetness without the usual “sticky/lumpy” raisin texture.

But if you’re absolutely convinced you don’t like raisins – cut to the chase and make these Cape Cod Soft Molasses Cookies, instead.

OK, if you’re still with us – let’s continue.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter and 1/2 cup granulated sugar until they’re well-combined.

Add 1/4 cup molasses…

…and 1 large egg.

Beat until well combined.

Add the flour/raisin mixture to the wet ingredients…

…beating just until thoroughly combined.

Scoop the sticky dough into 1″ balls; a teaspoon cookie scoop works well here.

Roll the balls in coarse white sugar, if desired. The sugar will provide pleasingly complementary crunch to the soft cookies; you’ll need about 2/3 cup to 3/4 cup sugar.

What’s an easy way to do this? Sprinkle the sugar into an 8″ cake pan, and drop the sticky dough into the pan.

Shake the pan to coat the dough balls with sugar.

Space the cookies on a couple of large, parchment-lined (or lightly greased) baking sheets, leaving about 2″ between them.

Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes (if you’re baking on a dark cookie sheet without parchment), or 9 to 11 minutes (on a parchment-lined sheet).

The centers will look soft and puffy; that’s OK. Cookies baked for the shorter amount of time will be VERY soft; bake them longer for a firmer (though still “bendy”) cookie.

Remove the cookies from the oven; their centers will settle.

Cool the cookies right on the pan; or, if you need the pan, wait several minutes for them to firm up, then transfer them to a rack to cool.

Can’t you just taste these spicy gems?

Don’t forget the lemonade!

Oh, and BTW – I put the following creation in the running for BEST TREAT EVER: a pair of soft molasses cookies sandwiched around Häagen-Dazs rum-raisin ice cream.

Raisins in the cookies, raisins in the ice cream… and heck, rum and molasses are an historical couple. In fact, many classic molasses cookie recipes include a hit of rum, a throwback to the days when molasses from the Caribbean was distilled into rum in villages all over New England.

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Soft Molasses-Raisin Cookies.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. Laura

    For recipes with raisins, I wusually soak the raisins in water for 15 min then drain, so they don’t pull moisture out of the other ingredients. Do you think this would be better for this recipe? I am using whole raisins. Thank you.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      I don’t think it’s necessary, but also don’t think it would hurt – go for it! PJH

  2. Stacy

    This recipe sounds like it will satisfy my craving, but can I leave out the raisins? I know you recommended the other recipe for those who don’t care for raisins, but this one is more appealing to me. Also, I don’t have crystallized ginger on hand and the black pepper… well just not willing to cross that bridge yet. Lastly, how can I get these thicker? Thanks!

    Sure, leave out the raisins, crystallized ginger, and black pepper; you’ll get fewer cookies by leaving out the raisins and ginger, and they won’t be as moist. How to make them thicker? You’ll change the texture and flavor quite significantly, but you could try swapping 1/3 cup vegetable shortening for the butter, and adding 1/2 teaspoon baking powder; no guarantees, but that’s where I’d start. Good luck – PJH

  3. Taves

    Made these and they were really good. Loved them! I didn’t have the chunky sugar so I just used regular sugar. That part didn’t turn out as well, but who cares. So tasty!

    Definitely a keeper recipe, isn’t it? Glad you agree! PJH

  4. ebenezer94

    Wow, yummy. I made these today (Happy Canada Day everyone) and they came out great, slightly dehydrated raisins and all. Thanks for highlighting this recipe in the blog. It’s a keeper! Chopping the raisins in the food processor is genius because although I love the flavor of raisins in cookies, sometimes they end up sticking way up out of the cookies and burn, which I find less delightful. I’ll have to try that with oatmeal cookies.

    So glad we were able to add something to your “favorites” list – and I’m sure chopping the raisins will work just as well in your oatmeal cookies. Enjoy – PJH

  5. KAF_MaryJane

    I remember reading in my Trixie Belden books that her neighbor would give them Dutch Windmill cookies and lemonade. I love having ginger cookies and lemonade, so these are on my list now. 🙂 ~ MJ

    HA – I remember both Trixie Belden and Dutch Windmill cookies. You must be older than I thought, kiddo – 🙂 PJH

  6. pdzielinski

    Can these be made to the stage where they are rolled in the sugar, and then frozen to bake later? If so, what do I do different at the baking stage?

    Sure – I’d let them thaw for 30 minutes or so on the pan, then bake – you may need to add a minute or so to the baking time. Bake ONE first, to make sure you get it right – then continue with the others. PJH


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