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Claire’s Chewy Molasses Cookies

Claire’s Chewy Molasses Cookies

A Breath of Snow and Ashes

“Yes, that’s what I’m afraid of,” I said, relinquishing it with some reluctance. “Just a taste, now— leave some for your daddy and grandda.”

He nodded, wordless, and licked the spoon with a long, slow swipe of the tongue, closing his eyes in ecstasy.

I found another spoon and set about dropping the cookies onto the tin sheets I used for baking. We ended in a dead heat, the sheets full and the bowl quite empty, just as footsteps came down the hallway toward the

I found another spoon and set about dropping the cookies onto the tin sheets I used for baking. We ended in a dead heat, the sheets full and the bowl quite empty, just as footsteps came down the hallway toward the door. Recognizing Brianna’s tread, I snatched the empty spoon from Jemmy and rubbed a quick towel across his smudgy mouth.

Bree stopped in the doorway, her smile turning to a look of suspicion.

“What are you guys doing?”

“Making molasses cookies,” I said, lifting the sheets in evidence, before sliding them into the brick oven set in the wall of the fireplace. “Jemmy’s been helping me.”

One neat red brow arched upward. She glanced from me to Jemmy, who was wearing a look of sublimely unnatural innocence. I gathered my own expression was no more convincing.

Diana Gabaldon, A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Chapter 71 – Lice)


I will admit I’d never pictured Claire as an indulgent grandmother until this scene, but then again, it would be hard not to spoil a ginger-headed Jemmy.

We’d most likely be guilty of indulgence if we were in her shoes.

Chewy Molasses Cookies(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)

Claire’s Chewy Molasses Cookies

Dark, delicious, no-fuss drop cookies with a sophisticated blend of holiday spices.

Makes about 2 dozen


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • ⅓ cup light or fancy molasses
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup light brown sugar, unpacked
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup powdered sugar, sifted


Move the racks to the upper and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 375℉. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, pepper, cardamom, and cloves until well combined. In a separate bowl, beat together the melted butter, molasses, granulated sugar brown sugar and egg until smooth. Add the flour to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Cover the bowl with a plate or plastic and refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes.

Scoop out rounded teaspoonfuls of dough and roll in the powdered sugar. Knock off the excess sugar and arrange on the baking sheets, flattening each ball slightly with your fingertips.

Bake until the cookies are puffed and cracked, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Store in an air-tight tin for up to 5 days.

Ith do leòr! (Eat Plenty)


  • My Englishman and I really enjoy these cookies with the ½ teaspoon of pepper, but they do finish with a bit of a kick.


  1. lori
    December 7, 2015 at 11:42 am

    When is the cook book coming out? i cant wait!

    • Theresa
      December 7, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      It is currently available for pre order on Amazon, and will be released June 24, 2016.

    • Phyllis Newmeyer
      December 7, 2015 at 6:32 pm

      Is this cookie recipe in the new book?

    • Theresa
      December 7, 2015 at 6:54 pm

      No, I’m afraid not.

  2. Adina Conroy
    December 7, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Thanks Theresa for such great recipes. This year my daughter and I made our entire Thanksgiving dinner an Outlander event using only recipes from your blog. It was fantastic. Mr. Willoughby’s Coral Knob is our new favorite appetizer.

  3. Sher Scott
    December 7, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Sounds wonderful, and i think I will use black treacle syrup instead of molasses.

    • Theresa
      December 7, 2015 at 1:30 pm

      that sounds lovely!

  4. Ann
    December 7, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Could these cookies be rolled and cut then sprinkled with regular sugar?

    • Theresa
      December 7, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      Ann, the dough is a bit sticky for rolling and cutting. You can certainly try, but you’ll have to dust the counter liberally with flour.

  5. Anna Lapping
    December 7, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    I love molasses, and cardamom…going to have to make these very soon!

    • Anna Lapping
      December 7, 2015 at 7:26 pm

      A few NC Outlander fans are having lunch at The Marshall Free House this coming Saturday….I think these would make nice little gifts for everyone in some cute tins if i can find some tartan ones.

    • Theresa
      December 8, 2015 at 6:36 am

      Love that idea!

  6. DeLinda
    December 7, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    The printable version of the recipe doesn’t come up for me. Any suggestions?

  7. Judy
    December 7, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Hm, I don’t think I’ve ever tasted cookies with black pepper in them. These are very similar to my favorite holiday cookie which we call “sugar & spice” they have molasses, ginger, and several over spices. We “roll” them in powdered sugar warm from the oven. They are dark and crinkly just like in your pictures. Now I’ll have to bake some this week! I’ll maybe try your recipe & let you know about the reaction to black pepper in cookies. !

  8. DeLinda
    December 7, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    I sent the incorrect email address in my last post. I still cannot access the printable version of the recipe for the molasses cookies.

    • Theresa
      December 7, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      The link was broken…my fault, DeLinda. It works now.

  9. Andrea Finch
    December 7, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Thank you so much!
    These will be a perfect gift for my Outlander viewing party girls

  10. Molly
    December 7, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Thank you for this Christmas present, Theresa! These go right to the top of my baking list and yes, I will be adding the pepper! I make my gingerbread houses from the Martha recipe and ever since trying it her way (with the pepper) gingerbread without it seems bland.

    Merry Christmas!

  11. Carol Mackey
    December 7, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Look so yummy!! My recipe calls for ginger rather than black pepper and the cookies are rolled in coarse sanding (or raw) sugar before baking, but otherwise the same. I’ll have to give this one a try. How could any self-respecting, cookie-baking grannie resist a cutie of a grandchild when it comes to the proverbial “taste”? Tradition!!! lol!! =D

  12. Vicki Carlson
    December 7, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Planning to have an Outlander Premiere Party. Will your cookbook be out by then?

    • Theresa
      December 7, 2015 at 2:19 pm

      No…but I’ll be sure to post some suggested dishes!

  13. Teri
    December 7, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    oops, editing error – 3rd and 4th paragraphs… – 3rd is incomplete, 4th is 3rd again but complete.
    Other than that? I’m going to bake up some of the molasses crinkles that I mixed up yesterday, thanks for the reminder! YUMMMMMY. Mine are my Grannie’s recipe, as that is what I had…. I should do a bakeoff!!!

  14. Norma Stark
    December 7, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    Perfect timing! I’ve got all the ingredients on hand. I just wonder if any of the finished product will make it into the goodie baskets????

  15. LoneRanger
    December 8, 2015 at 1:47 am

    Am sure I would like to eat a lot of those cookies, but what most delicious is your reference to that chapter, I read time ago, and you are sort of stimulating me to read the whole book again.
    Thanks Theresa, long live Giana Gabaldon.

  16. Dana
    December 8, 2015 at 2:40 am

    Making these for the cookie exchange at work! They sound wonderful!

  17. Beth
    December 8, 2015 at 5:40 am

    I was just looking for a cookie to make today! My kids reminded me that it’s Tuesday and cookies have not been made. 🙂 These cookies look like the right choice!!

  18. Donna
    December 8, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Seeing this brings back wonderful memories of my Mom. My Mom being Canadian French made molasses cookies all the time. She would sometimes add raisins but they were also frosted and they were my favorite.

    Looking forward to your cookbook – the cover is gorgeous.

  19. Arvina Lumley
    December 8, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Thanks for the tasty treat & share. Great illustrations! Delighted! Yummy!

  20. Lisa t
    December 8, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Pre-ordered this today. Can’t wait. These chewey molasses type cookies are my all time favourite. Can’t wait to try your recipe. Thanks so much for sharing.

  21. Pat
    December 9, 2015 at 7:08 am

    I have been in the mood to bake but haven’t quite figured out what it was I wanted to make. I think I just found it! Can’t wait to make these!

  22. Zelda Benjamin
    December 10, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    I made the cookies and they are delicious. No one in the 1700’s would have thought about the calories and neither will I. Looking forward to the cookbook.

  23. Melanie T
    December 13, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Made these on this frosty Sunday morning and made my house smell wonderful. I didn’t have cloves so I used Allspice, but tasted lovely! These will be perfect for my parents as they love Spice cookies!

  24. Paula
    December 15, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    I made them and they were delicious but they did not rise at all. Any idea what I did wrong?

    • Theresa
      December 15, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      Paula, my first question with non-rising baked goods is always any idea how old your baking powder is?

    • Paula
      December 15, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      Well, no idea; but you might have just solved the problem – I used baking soda instead of baking powder. I need to get more butter so I’ll get some fresh baking powder. Thank you so much for replying.

    • Paula
      December 15, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      One question: you said baking powder. The recipe calls for baking soda. Which should I use – both of which can are really old and could be the problem.

    • Theresa
      December 15, 2015 at 4:46 pm

      My error! Sorry! I should have said baking soda. Trying to do too many things at once, as usual. Lol

  25. Paula
    December 15, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    Thank you!!!! I figured that 🙂 I bought fresh so I’ll try again.

  26. Paula
    December 16, 2015 at 6:53 am

    Second batch turned out perfectly once I used fresh baking soda. I could tell immediately while mixing the batter the difference. Thanks for the FABULOUS recipe and for helping a novice baker 🙂 Hope you have a very Blessed Christmas.

    • Theresa
      December 16, 2015 at 9:28 am

      Yay! Best wishes from our house to yours.

  27. Meghan McGarry
    December 17, 2015 at 10:55 am

    I made a batch of these last weekend and everyone loved them! Going to make a bunch more & include them with my holiday care packages!

  28. LoneRanger
    December 18, 2015 at 1:01 am

    Great ingredient list Theresa, but in God’s name, what are things like “1½ teaspoons baking soda; ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom; ⅓ cup light or fancy(??) molasse…” and where can I find this fancy stuff..!!

    Still, you are great Theresa, i love you…!!!


    • Anna Lapping
      December 18, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      That’s pretty funny, LR. I’ll admit, the cardamom is iffy if you’ve never done much baking, baking soda is bicarbonate of soda and is readily available in any grocery store. Light molasses is regular molasses, I presume to differentiate it from Sorghum, but just buy what’s available in your grocery store. If the cardamom is unavailable you could make them without, I’m sure the rest of the spices would still make a delicious cookie.

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