Joe Froggers [RECIPE]

Joe Froggers cookies
Joe Froggers are one of our favorite New England recipes! (Photo by Jathan Fink, Jadeworks Entertainment)

One of the best parts about having lived in or traveled to lots of different places over the years is discovering new recipes from various regions. Since we love cookies, it’s no surprise that we fell in love with Joe Froggers, a cookie that seems like the love child of a snickerdoodle and a gingersnap. This recipe originates in Marblehead, Massachusetts, where Joseph Brown opened a tavern next to a frog pond with his wife Lucretia after the Revolutionary War. These molasses-spice cookies became her trademark.

PREP TIME: 40 minutes


  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 1 cup unsulphured dark molassses
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 3 – 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened, plus more for baking sheets
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together water, molasses and rum; set aside.
  2. In a separate large bowl, sift together 3 cups flour, baking soda, salt, and spices; set aside.
  3. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk together at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar and mix on low until evenly combined. Add half the molasses mixture and beat to combine on medium low, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture, then the remaining molasses mixture. Add the third of the flour mixture and beat to combine. If the dough seems too loose, add the extra 1/2 cup of flour.
  5. Divide the dough into two balls, covering each tightly with plastic wrap, and chill at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Meanwhile, line two baking sheets with parchment.
  7. Break 1/2-inch sized pieces of dough and roll them into balls with the palms of your hands. Roll the balls in sugar, then arrange them 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Press them gently with the bottom of a drinking glass, flattening each cookie before baking.
  8. Bake the cookies until they have set but still seem soft in the middle, about 10 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

TIP 1: If you don’t want to use rum, you can substitute 3 1/2 to 4 teaspoons of rum extract instead.

TIP 2: If you’d prefer using cookie cutters to make these cookies into fun shapes, simply dust your clean, dry counter with flour. Roll the dough to a 1/2-inch thickness. Flour your cookie cutter to cut the dough. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets, being sure to leave about 2 inches between the cookies and bake as usual.

YIELD: 4 dozen

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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