Soft Molasses Jumbles

This recipe was sent by my great-grandmother to my grandmother in 1942. The ingredients seem to reflect the rationing that was likely in effect during this period. This is a soft, chewy cookie with lots of molasses flavor.
Course:  Dessert
Prep Time:  15 minutes
Cook Time:  30 minutes
Total Time:  45 minutes
Servings:  3 dozen


  • 5 tablespoons shortening
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 Tablespoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour sifted
  • ½ cup cold water


  1. Cream shortening until light, gradually add sugar, molasses, continue beating.
  2. Sift the dry ingredients together and add alternately with the water, while stirring.
  3. Drop by tablespoons, onto a greased pan, bake in 375 degree oven, about 10 minutes.
  4. Don’t be alarmed by the amount of soda, it is correct.

Recipe Notes

I wanted to be faithful to her recipe, for this post. The above is just about an exact transcription (including her note about the baking soda!). The one change I did make when I baked the cookies was to use softened unsalted butter rather than shortening. I used light brown sugar, but think that I’d use dark brown next time. I can also see how this might benefit from some spices (clove, ginger, cinnamon, and/or nutmeg), but they had a simple molasses flavor this way. These are sticky cookies. I used parchment paper to line my pans. If you don’t have parchment paper, I would definitely spray the pans with cooking spray.