Grandma Libbey’s Soft Ginger Cookies

Our camp cook’s wife, Lorraine, shared her recipe for soft ginger cookies after I begged for it at one of the sumptuous Christmas open houses she and Chris hosted. As I have mentioned before, I really prefer cookies that remind me of cake rather than crackers.

I do like crackers, particularly when they are smeared with a nice ripe Brie or Camembert or are supporting a generous slice of aged Cheddar from Wisconsin or Cave Aged Gouda from the Caves of Faribaultt. I also use crackers in lots of recipes for everything from Italian Meatballs and Jerri’s Salmon Loaf to Nellie’s Rhubarb Raisin Pie and Phyllis’ Bar-B-Que Burgers, and of course, Jerri’s Oyster Stew demands oyster crackers.

I do enjoy an occasional crisp cookie, but I would sneak an extra one of Grandma Libbey’s Soft Ginger Cookies before I reached for a crisp sugar cookie. Lorraine got the recipe from Ms. Diane, as Chris calls her, who is married to his brother David. She contributed it to “Feeding the Flock,” a cookbook published by The Baptist Church of Grafton, Massachusetts.

In a note at the end of the recipe, she explains, “This recipe comes from David’s Grandma who made it frequently to celebrate, to console and to be enjoyed with cold milk.”

I think Diane says it all. It’s time to bake some cookies.


1 large egg
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups molasses
1/2 cup sour milk
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. baking soda
5-6 cups all-purpose flour


First make the sour milk. Put one and one-half-teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice into a measuring cup. Add enough milk to make a half cup. Stir the mixture and set it aside. Preheat the oven to 425º.

Beat the egg, sugar and molasses together in a large mixing bowl. Add the sour milk and beat well. Add the oil and beat until it is blended with the other liquids.

Sift the salt, ginger, baking soda and flour into a separate bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the molasses mixture a cup at a time, beating well between additions. If the dough is not firm enough to roll out after the last cup has been stirred in, add more flour.

Transfer half of the dough onto a well-floured surface. Use a spatula to turn the dough until it is covered with flour. Roll out the dough to a quarter-inch thickness. Cut with a floured cutter and place the cookies about an inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for six to seven minutes until the center of the cookie is set.

Work the scraps into the remaining dough and cut more cookies. Knead the final scraps into a ball and roll it out to make the rest of the cookies.

NOTES: If you want extra sweetness, sprinkle a little granulated sugar on top of the cookies before putting them in the oven.

Depending on the size of your egg and the kind of molasses, you may need to add a little more than six cups of flour. This recipe makes five dozen three inch cookies.

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