We were completely alone, Lulubelle and I. Old Spouse was off carousing at some year-end function, O Bunn was at a birthday party and Diski had found a hole in the fence and gone to visit with the dogs next door. I wasn’t as glum as Lulubelle at being the only ones home, but I was a bit grumpy at the prospect of not being able to have my customary Friday night glass of wine; the Bunn’s party would end at 9pm and one really can’t take the chance of drinking and driving, even with the party house being just a few blocks away.

There was nothing for it but to bake away the time, with forays to the lounge to watch the progress of Celebrity Masterchef UK.  I got a bit tearful when old Paul Young was sent off; affable bloke, but the years have not been kind to his face. In the kitchen I spotted a bottle of blackstrap molasses that I bought on a whim some time back.  I’d seen it in the supermarket and instantly had a flood of memories about my Grandpa’s farm.  He always had a gallon-drum of the stuff standing just inside the kitchen door.  I think he gave it to the cows every morning as a sort of booster, but my Grandma used it too, for all manner of things.  She’d put a saucer of it on the windowsill on days when the flies were really bad, the flies would gravitate to it and get stuck and there’d be a heaving mass like something from Dante’s Inferno by mid-afternoon. She also baked molasses cookies, a bitter-sweet confection that confused my young tastebuds.

I’ve come to love these biscuits; the spicy crunch is just perfect for vanilla ice cream sandwiches.


My recipe comes from Joy of Cooking, but I know it so well that I seldom refer to the book when making it.

¾ cup butter and 1 cup sugar, beaten until fluffy.

Add in and beat well:

2 cups flour, ½ tsp salt, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ground cloves, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 large egg, ¼ cup molasses, 1 tsp baking powder.

You’re left with a soft dough, refrigerate for an hour until firm and workable, then form into small balls and coat with sugar.  Set on a baking tray an inch apart and bake at 180C for 10 minutes.  The biscuits will harden on cooling.



    • It’s very easy and they keep well to boot.
      As it turned out she rang shortly before eight to ask me to fetch her, she wasn’t having a nice time; the Saxenwold crowd, you know …

  1. What a forlorn little face! I blew Lulubelle a kiss! And speaking of molasses, one day I saw this huge bottle of Organic Molasses and thought it would be a grand substitute for Maple Syrup on my porridge. Not so. However, next summer, when flies sneak in, I will be thanking your grandmother!

  2. The biscuits sound delicious. I remember having spoonfuls of molasses when we visited farms in Zambia … why, I’m not sure! It tasted good, though, and probably kept the flies away! 🙂
    BTW, I worked with a guy here who toured with Paul Young for years, as his drummer!
    Sunshine xx

  3. Lulubelle is precious! My household is big on molassses cookies. It’s something I usually make in the fall and winter, maybe it’s a cold weather comfort sweet for us.

  4. Hi cindy ! first I had to translate “molasses” in French… Mélasse of course ! Memories flowed back (like the Proust´madeleines) and then I remembered the taste of it. Spoonfulls of mélasse my mother used to give my sister and I in Spring and Autumn. “It´s good for you”, she said. I will try your receipe, all spices I love. Thanks 🙂

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