Joe Froggers Cookies

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Joe Froggers Molasses Cookies are named after Joseph Brown (1750-1834) who owned a tavern called Black Joe’s Tavern in Marblehead, Mass. His wife, Lucretia, came up with the recipe. The original cookies were the size of pancakes and were cooked in an iron skillet. Today, these cookies are smaller and baked in an oven.

They called the cookies froggers because they were as big as lily pads and the Brown’s lived on the edge of a frog pond.

This soft-centered cookie became very popular in the late 18th century. Because the cookies kept well, they could be taken on long sea voyages and became popular with fishermen and sailors.

These cookies are vegan containing no dairy or eggs and can be modified to be gluten free.



4-1/3 cups all-purpose flour substitute gluten free flour, if desired
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ginger
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
¾ cup vegetable shortening
¾ cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon rum. (Substitute water for rum if preferred)


  • In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.
  • Cream shortening and sugar with an electric mixer on medium (or by hand). Add molasses and beat well. With mixer on low, add flour mixture and rum alternately, beating until well blended after each addition. Divide dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap, chill overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll dough one-half at a time, about ¼-inch thick. Cut with floured 4-inch round cookie cutter. Bake on parchment lined sheet pans or lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until just done but not browned around edges. Cool on racks. Store in airtight container.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

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