Time Travel Kitchen

Two Ginger Molasses Cookies, 80 Years Apart

Am I the only one who didn’t know that (according to the Oxford English Dictionary) the term ‘Fangirl’ has been around since 1934?

I bring this up because I am about to go all fangirl — for a cookie and for the women who made them, 80 years apart.

Ginger Molasses cookies are one my favorite cookies. Crisp or chewy or a combination of both, this is another delicious cookie that’s perfect for gifting — it travels well.

Among the most popular cookies of the 1920’s and ‘30’s, they are still going strong today.

I’ve been collecting a lot of cookbooks from the early 20th century over the past year, and I find myself going back to the same ones, over and over.

If you’ve been following this newsletter for a while, you know that I’m a huge fan of Irma Rombauer. Her recipes work so well, and the introductions to them are so much fun to read. Witty and direct, the full title of the 1931 First Edition of her classic book is The Joy of Cooking: A Compilation of Reliable Recipes with a Casual Culinary Chat.

And that it is.

Here’s a recipe for her Ginger Ice Box Cookies (with Molasses) 1931, which are terrific.

Once again, thanks to John Becker and Megan Scott for permission to post this recipe.


  • Definitely use cake flour

  • The rules for ice box cookies are to roll the dough into long rolls, approx 2” in diameter

  • Chill it till you can easily handle it to form the rolls

  • After rolled, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate till they are thoroughly chilled so you can cut easily, at least an hour

  • Cut very thin slices

  • Bake at 400F for approx 6-8 minutes, but watch carefully depending on how fast or slow your particular oven is

    From The Joy of Cooking, 1931

The Violet Bakery Cookbook

Just about a year ago, I made the Chewy Ginger Snaps from The Violet Bakery Cookbook for the first time.

I was so crazy for these cookies, I actually wrote Claire Ptak, the celebrated American Pastry Chef who founded Violet Cakes in London, to tell her how great they were. Very fangirl of me, and Claire was thoroughly gracious.

The cookies, pictured above, are crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside and full of beautiful spices — they are so good.

Thank you to Claire for permission to post this recipe. Her new cookbook comes out this spring and is an ode to California where her career began as the Pastry Chef at Chez Panisse in Berkeley.

I encourage you to make both of these recipes— you will love them. They are great additions to the cookie collection we are building for the holidays.

Next week: a special cake 🍰

Have a great weekend!