Sara and Gertie’s Molasses Cookies from Author Jennifer McMahon

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    THE WINTER PEOPLE tells three intertwining stories.   The one that sets the others in motion takes place in 1908 in a farmhouse in West Hall, Vermont where Sara Harrison Shea lives with her husband Martin and their beloved seven-year-old daughter, Gertie. Gertie will be lost, Sara and Martin will lose everything trying to cope with her death in their own heartbroken ways, and the desperate choices they make will change many lives – but before all of that, Gertie and Sara loved to cook together.  Molasses cookies were always Gertie’s favorite.

    This recipe is inspired by Soft Ginger Cookies, a recipe from the 1920s that uses ingredients Sara would have had in her pantry.  Although Sara and Gertie had limited access to spices, I have added cloves and cinnamon to add complexity.

    Jennifer McMahon’s Website

    Video Trailer for The Winter People

    Jennifer McMahon’s Guest Author Blog: The Idea Box

    Reading Group Guide


    Sara and Gertie’s Molasses Cookies from Author Jennifer McMahon

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook Time: PT8-10M

    Total Time: 30 minutes

    Yield: 24 cookies

    Sara and Gertie’s Molasses Cookies from Author Jennifer McMahon

    A soft, chewy molasses cookie spiced with cinnamon, cloves and ginger, easy to make and sure to disappear quickly!


    • 1 cup sugar

    • 1 large egg

    • 1/4 cup molasses
    • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) salted or unsalted butter or vegetable shortening, melted
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)
    • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour


    1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
    2. On medium speed of an electric mixer, cream together sugar, egg, molasses, and melted butter. In a separate bowl combine spices, baking soda, salt (if using), and flour. Fold dry ingredients into molasses mixture.
    3. Scoop batter by rounded tablespoon and place 3 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until cookies start to brown around edges. Cool completely on baking sheets.

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