This recipe is hand-written into my oldest notebook, the five-and-a-half-by-eight. This collection predates the prevalence of photocopying machines in my life: As I made up recipes or found ones I liked, I imagined I would just write each one, by hand, onto these small sheets of paper. It was a different time. Heck, even the notebook itself is that great old gray-blue fabric covering heavy cardboard, the kind of notebook we all had before plastic ruled the world.

The name says “brandy snaps,” and I’ve just strolled right by that title for years. These have no brandy, the way I make them, and I don’t burden them anymore with the traditional shape of brandy snaps — rolled around a spoon handle when warm to create a dark cannoli-shaped cookie. That was fun, but often a pain. The rolling depends on split-second timing: Too soon out of the oven, and you’re scraping soft cookie googe off the sheet; too long, and the cookies shatter when you try to bend them even a bit. The old recipe also made enormous cookies. Even though I love ginger and molasses — and you must for these — those big oldies were too much of a good thing.

three-bite ginger molasses cookies

Instead, these are three-bite cookies: Thin, snappy-crisp at first, reducing to a bit of chewy molasses-ginger goodness at the end. We were out of ice cream when I made them this time, or I would have served them three up, spiked into a scoop of vanilla or dulce de leche ice cream. (Think “easy-yet-company” dessert.) I could as easily see serving a handful of these with tea on a cool fall afternoon, or creating a twist on gingerbread and applesauce by making these your ginger fixture.


Makes 7 to 8 dozen cookies

  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Warm molasses just to boiling (stovetop or microwave), remove from heat and add butter. In a small bowl, mix flour, sugar and ginger together; add to butter mixture and stir well. Dough will be more like a brownie batter than a cookie dough. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment. Drop dough by scant half-teaspoon — a blob about the size of a marble — widely spaced on the cookie sheet. Bake 11 minutes. Remove cookie sheet from oven and let cookies stand for 1 or 2 minutes to set, then remove from parchment. Store tightly covered, and eat within a few days.

Note: I take a piece of paper towel and wipe down the parchment (there is a lot of butter in these cookies) before reusing it for the next batch.