Snacks & Treats
How to make a favourite cookie of the 1946 Canadian army
By Robyn Sealy, Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site, Club Parka, Parks Canada
Dec 6, 2017
Have you ever tried a molasses cookie? Ginger snaps, gingerbread, ginger crackle and molasses cookies are all based on a similar recipe, so chances are good that you have. Depending on the cookie, some have more or less molasses and varying amounts of spice, but they are more or less the same cookie.
Today, I would like to share a 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.
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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, I thought it would be nice to share it just in time for the holidays. This recipe will easily give you about 100 cookies, which is perfect for an army of holiday visitors! If you are not expecting an army, don't worry: you can easily cut this recipe in half, or even quarter it.
Maybe this recipe will become a classic for your little soldiers at home!
- 2¼ cups molasses
- 2¼ cups shortening
- 1¼ cups sugar
- 2¼ cups sour milk*
- 3½ tsp baking soda
- 2½ tsp salt
- 4 tsp finely grated ginger
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 9 cups 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 minutes before using.
- Heat molasses and shortening together, then let the mixture cool
- Add remaining ingredients and mix together thoroughly
- Form into rolls about 2 inches in diameter, wrap in waxed paper and chill 2-3 hours
- Slice and bake on a greased baking sheet for approximately 15 minutes at 350 °F
- Let cool a bit… and enjoy!
For more heritage-inspired recipes, visit the Parks Canada Heritage Gourmet page.