I hesitated whether to share the recipe for these Glazed Molasses Bars today, as spring is just beginning to peak here on the East Coast, since molasses & spice aren’t particularly traditional spring flavors. But then I thought – who am I kidding? Cookies are always in season! If you offered me one of these Molasses Bars, preferably with a cup of tea, I’d gladly accept every single time.
Cookies just make me happy, ya know?
My fondness for cookies definitely goes back to childhood, where a couple of cookies a night were a staple dessert in our house. One of my favorites were these fruit & honey bars that mom would buy from the grocery store (hi mom!). They were big, golden cookie squares that had raisins and were super soft and chewy. Kind of like my favorite oatmeal cookies, minus the oats.
A few weeks ago, those fruit & honey bars were on my mind. They haven’t been available for years, but I suddenly found myself craving one of those cookies. So, naturally, I set out to re-create my own version. While I was researching recipes, the closest thing I could find to the cookies I remembered were old-fashioned molasses bars and something called hermit bars. I’d never heard of the latter and still not sure what difference between those two is.
The cookies I ended up with taste different than the ones I remember. They’re more molasses & spice than fruit & honey. Sometimes when you try to come up with a copycat recipe, you surprise yourself by coming up with something even better, and that’s what happened here. I’m sharing these Glazed Molasses Bars because they are GOOD. And yes, I had to capitalize that to fully express how I feel about these. This one went straight into my file of keeper recipes!
These cookies are super soft, full of of rich, warm flavors (hi, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg), studded with plump, chewy raisins, and finished with a drizzle of sweet confectioner’s glaze. I’m a raisin lover, but I know many are not, so if that’s you, simply omit the cup of raisins and enjoy these cookies spice-only. They’re old fashioned and comforting, part gingerbread, part fruit bar and totally delicious.
You do need to plan a bit ahead if you’re going to make these, since the dough needs to chill in the fridge for an hour or so. But other than that little waiting period, they’re SO easy to make. The dough comes together really quickly, and after chilling, you split the dough into quarters, roll each piece into a log and then – this is the part I love – the whole log of dough goes straight onto the cookie sheet to bake as is. There’s no additional rolling or cutting or scooping of dough!
It’s kind of neat to see how the dough logs flatten out as they bake and you end up with four little cookie loaves, ready for glazing & slicing! And can I just mention the smell while these bake? So, so good. Better than any candle you can buy!
Just a note – this dough IS sticky, but nothing too crazy. Just remember to flour your work surface and wet your hands and you’ll be ready to roll! Get it?! Because you’re rolling dough… Anyway, like I said, cookies are always in season so do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a batch of these Glazed Molasses Bars!
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup raisins
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- ½ cup molasses
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ cup confectioner's sugar
- 1-2 tbsp milk of choice OR freshly squeezed orange juice
- Whisk together dry ingredients and set aside.
- In a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in egg, molasses, and honey.
- Add dry ingredients and raisins to wet ingredients, mixing till combined.
- Chill dough at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. On a floured surface, use hands to roll each piece of dough into a log measuring about 2 inches wide by 12 inches long. Transfer logs to parchment-lined baking sheets.
- Bake 16-18 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.
- While cookies finish cooling, whisk together confectioner's sugar and milk or juice for the glaze. Drizzle cooled loaves with glaze, let glaze harden and then slice into bars.