Canadian Army Molasses Cookies

By Robyn Sealy, Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site, BC

Have you ever tried a molasses cookie? You might have and not even known it! Ginger snaps, gingerbread, and molasses cookies are all based on a similar recipe, but contain varying amounts of molasses and different spices.

Today, I would like to share with you this recipe from the official 1946 Canadian Army Cook’s Manual*. It would have been used in the cookhouses and messes of the Victoria-Esquimalt Fortress, including Fort Rodd Hill where I work. These cookies would have been enjoyed in army mess halls all over Canada, and even at Canadian bases overseas as a taste of home.

Girls dressed in costume at Fort Rodd Hill NHS.
Molasses cookies are a perfect treat for your hungry little troops!

Soldiers are always hungry and generally have a sweet tooth – just like kids! Since this recipe was designed for a large batch of hungry soldiers, it will easily yield about 100 cookies. If you don't think you and your little troops are quite that hungry, you can always halve (or quarter) the recipe, or even make up the whole recipe and simply place a roll of dough in the freezer for another day!

For more heritage inspired recipes, visit the Parks Canada Heritage Gourmet page.

Groupe d'ingrédients pour la recette

Préparation des biscuits


  • 2¼ cups | 800 g molasses
  • 2¼ cups | 500 g shortening
  • 1¼ cup | 280 g sugar
  • 2¼ cups | 560 ml sour milk*
  • 3½ tsp | 15 g baking soda
  • 2½ tsp | 13 g salt
  • 4 tsp | 20 ml finely grated ginger
  • 2 tsp | 5 g cinnamon
  • 9 cups | 1,2 kg flour

*To make a cup of sour milk, mix together a cup of milk with a tablespoon (15 ml) of lemon juice or vinegar. Stir and set aside for about 5 min before using.


  1. Heat molasses and shortening together and cool.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix together thoroughly.
  3. Form into rolls about 2” (5 cm) in diameter, wrap in waxed paper and chill 2-3 hours.
  4. Slice and bake on a greased baking sheet for approximately 15 minutes at 350 °F | 180 °C.
  5. Let cool a bit… and enjoy!

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