American Holiday Cookie Recipe: Molasses-Spice Crinkles


Molasses-Spice Crinkles

This is my favorite cookie recipe: a colonial American recipe which uses lots of molasses and spices. Back home in New Jersey, after we’d gorged ourselves on potato latkes and sung songs at our school’s winter assembly about candles for both Christmas and Hanukkah, my mother would bake gifts for our teachers.

I have found that many French people do not like cloves so you may need to adapt the spices.

Prep Time: 15 minutesMolasses Spice Cookies recipe

Cooking Time: 11 minutes per batch

Yield: Makes 3 dozen cookies


  • 3/4 cup shortening *
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4  teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice **
  • 1 cup sparkling sugar (sprinkles)

* shortening can be replaced with butter. French butter is creamier than American butter so cut butter down by 1 tablespoon, add an extra tablespoon of flour and chill dough for 2 hours.

* * Allspice, called poivre de la Jamaïque, is difficult to find in France. If you cannot find any, you can omit it from the recipe.


1. Beat shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add 1 cup granulated sugar, beating well. Add egg and molasses; beat well.

2. Combine flour and next 8 ingredients, stirring well. Add one-fourth of flour mixture at a time to shortening mixture, beating at low speed after each addition until blended. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, and roll in sparkling sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

4. Bake at 375° for 9 to 11 minutes. (Tops will crack.)  Press tops with butter press (I use the plastic end of the cork from a whiskey or port bottle). Remove to wire racks to cool completely.


You can make these cookies using a gluten free flour mix, but be sure to add an extra 1/2 cup of flour or the dough will be too sticky and thin. Read our tips on how to eat and cook gluten-free in France.

If you try this recipe, be sure to tell us how it turned out in the comments ! And while you’re on a coocking mood, you can also try these classical whoopie pies, or these delicious french twist on an american traditionnal recipe : crème fraiche double chocolate coockies.

You are also welcomed to share your favorite recipe in the comments, or become a contributor.

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