This recipe is as it appeared in the cookbook. This makes a LARGE batch of dough, and you can easily halve it. If you don’t want to roll the cookie dough, you can form balls with your hands and press flat. I find that a 350 oven works better than 375, and will keep them from burning on the bottom. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet, and loosen while hot. I tend to make mine thinner and bake them a bit longer so they are more like ginger snaps.
A long time ago there was an old Negro who lived in
Uncle Joe made the best molasses cookies of anyone in town, and people called them Joe Froggers because they were as plump and dark as the fat little frogs that lived in the pond.
Uncle Joe said what kept them soft was rum and sea water. But he wouldn’t tell how he made them. And when he died, people said, “That’s the end of Joe Froggers.”
But there was a woman named Mammy Cressy, who said she was Uncle Joe’s daughter, and Mammy Cressy gave the secret recipe to a fisherman’s wife. Then half the women in Marblehead began making Joe Froggers. With a pitcher of milk, Froggers became the town’s favorite Sunday night supper. They were also sold in a local bake shop. Children bought them, instead of candy, for a penny apiece, and they remained popular for several generations.
Joe Froggers, 6 inches in diameter, are made almost everyday in the old Village Tavern in Sturbridge, and on Sunday nights they are served with a pitcher of milk, in the Publick House. The chef got the recipe from a woman whose ancestors lived in Marblehead in the days of Uncle Joe. The recipe has been in her family for more than a hundred years.
- 1 cup shortening
- 2 cups dark molasses
- 2 cups sugar
- 7 cups flour
- ¼ cup rum
- ¾ cup water
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. ginger
- 1 tsp. clove
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- 2 tsps. baking soda
- ½ tsp. allspice
- Cream shortening and sugar until light.
- Dissolve salt in water and mix with rum.
- Add baking soda to molasses.
- Sift flour with ginger, clove, nutmeg, and allspice. Add liquid ingredients alternately with flour mixture to creamed mixture. Stir well between additions. Dough should be sticky. Chill overnight in refrigerator.
- In morning, flour board and rolling pin. Roll dough out to ½ inch thickness. Cut with large cutter.
- Bake in 375 oven for 10 or 12 minutes, or until done.
From: New England Cookbook
By Eleanor Early
Random House, 1954