Wednesday, June 5, 2024

American Cookie #2 {Joe Froggers - Revolutionary War Era Molasses Spice Cookies}


Each week, I'm going to be highlighting a new American Cookie and sharing it's history, as well as my results. This is the second week of baking with American Cookie by Anne Byrn, and I'm sharing Joe Froggers, which are a Molasses Spice Cookie from the Revolutionary War Era.

The History of Joe Froggers: Historians say the Joe Froggers cookie was named after a freed slave who ran a tavern in Marblehead, Massachusetts, called Black Joe's on the edge of a millpond. The tavern was known for its ginger cookie baked in an iron skillet. The cookie was unlike any other ginger cookie because it was flat, pancake-like, and laden with rum, which was a plentiful ingredient in New England after the war. Ginger was known to soothe stomachs and these cookies went out to sea to help fishermen ward off seasickness.

Historians also say it's possible Joe Froggers got their name simply because the millpond behind Black Joe's had many fat frogs and lilypads. 

My Results: The cookies are soft and memorable with a mild spice flavor, you can taste hints of the molasses, ginger, clove, nutmeg and allspice but it's not overpowering. There is quite a bit of rum in the cookies (1/2 cup) but you don't really taste the rum. I think the rum acts to keep the cookies soft and stay fresh longer. These are good fresh out of the oven and even better sandwiched between vanilla ice cream. The cookie was very easy to make, but they do need to chill for at least 3 hours, best if they can chill overnight (this will make it easier to flatten the dough before baking). The spice cookie feels reminiscent of the holidays, but I think during the Revolutionary War period the spice cookie was enjoyed all year round. I'm not the biggest fan of spice cookies but I liked these cookies better than I expected to, and the texture was great! I would make them again if I needed a spice cookie.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars!

I'm going to be rating all the cookies with the five-star format, one star being the lowest rating and five star being the highest.

Joe Froggers

Adapted by American Cookie

by Anne Bryn

Makes 20-22 cookies

Butter or shortening for prepping pans

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 cup unsulfured molasses

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

5 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup dark rum

Note: It is important to chill the cookie dough at least 3 hours so the cookies don't spread as much while baking!

Place the flour, ginger, salt, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice in a medium size bowl and sift or whisk to combine well. Set aside. Pour the molasses into measuring cup, and stir in the baking soda to combine. Set aside.

Place the soft butter and sugar in a large bowl, and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy and fluffy, about 1 minute. Pour in the molasses and soda mixture and blend on low. Add the rum and blend on low until combined. Remove the beaters.

Sift the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time into the butter mixture with a wooden spoon until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator at least 3 hours.

Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375F. Pinch off large pieces of dough and drop them, spaced 6 to a pan, on lightly greased baking sheets. Press down on each piece until it is 3" in diameter and about 1/3" thick. Place the cookies in the oven.

Bake the cookies until they slightly deepen in color and are set in texture, 9 to 11 minutes. Immediately transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool. Let the baking sheet cool to room temperature, then repeat with the remaining dough.

Store cookies in an airtight container for up to a week. 


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