No. 53: WWII Oatmeal Molasses Cookies

I'm about to head out on a long week of travel. One trip to NYC for work, and a girlfriends' getaway in Arizona. Both will be quite a bit of fun and the temperature swing couldn't be more shocking.

(Have I mentioned Mr. McC. is a saint? All this travel in the midst of packing for a move. I'm lucky.)

Whenever I leave town, I try to leave Saint McC with some treats. He has ridiculous self retraint, unlike his wife, so I know they'll last him awhile.

These cookies sounded wonderfully comforting for a rainy week on your own with two demanding/loving schnauzers.

WWII Cookies

This recipe is from a grandmother who made this version in the 1940s. It calls for molasses instead of brown sugar, which was rationed during the war.


Makes 4 dozen
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups oatmeal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup shortening*
2 eggs, beaten
5 tablespoons light molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

*I used butter, but note that it does change the consistency of the final product if you swap one for the other.

To make

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, oatmeal, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl, beat the sugar with the shortening until smooth and creamy. Mix in beaten eggs, molasses, and vanilla.

Gradually mix in the dry ingredients. Stir in walnuts and raisins. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.


Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until slightly browned. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

The results

These cookies were so soft and chewy. I taste tested a couple before packing them away and I have to say, I love the molasses. The texture was creamier overall than when I use regular brown sugar.


I always make cookies a tad too big, so my baking time was more like 14 minutes. But the butter was an easy swap for shortening. I also skipped the raisins, but they would be a great addition in the next round.

After I ate one of these, I realized my grandmother used to make a very similar version, just with a bit more nuts and some raisins. But she definitely used molasses. It was a wonderful memory flashback on a rainy day.

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Amelia McCormick

Kansas girl transplanted to Asheville, North Carolina. Smiler, lover of great food and wine, facilitator, runner, storyteller, wife, optimist, and mother of sweet twins:)

Asheville, North Carolina