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Joe Froggers

  • Yield: Makes 2 dozen
Joe Froggers

Source: Martha Stewart Living, December 2003


  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup dark molasses


  1. Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.

  3. Meanwhile, in glass measuring cup, combine the rum, 1/4 cup water, and salt. Stir to dissolve; set aside. Stir the baking soda into the molasses; set aside. To the shortening mixture, add the liquid ingredients alternating with the dry ingredients scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. The dough will be sticky. Transfer to a baking sheet, and cover with plastic wrap. Chill overnight in the refrigerator.

  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with Silpats (French nonstick baking mats). Remove dough from refrigerator, and transfer half of the dough at a time to a floured work surface. Roll out dough 1/8-inch-thick. Using a 4-inch round cutter or a large glass, cut out dough rounds. Using a spatula, place cookies 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake until the tops begin to crack, 10 to 12 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Reviews (8)

  • Kafziel 22 Aug, 2014

    Vegetable shortening is a 20th century invention. Baking soda is a 19th century invention. If you want to be more authentic, use 1/2 cup lard and an egg. And they probably would have used brown sugar, like muscovado, not refined white sugar. Adjust the molasses if it's too overpowering with the darker sugar. Also, “salt + water” is not the same thing as sea water. And use parchment instead of silpats.

  • JoeFrogger 24 Nov, 2010

    I should also mention that in Marblehead we roll the dough out to a 1/2" thickness, just like there were made in the late 18th century at Old Black Joe's tavern.

  • JoeFrogger 24 Nov, 2010

    This is "THE" recipe for the Joe Frogger a traditional cookie (or meal) from Marblehead, MA. It is original in all respects - don't forget to mix your rum and salt in that 1/4 water as instructed in the directions. Parchment paper is a huge help to prevent sticking to your cookie sheets. I let my Joe Froggers cool a minute or two before sliding them off to cooling racks. Oh, use Sea Water if you live near to the sea!

  • jjessika2 24 Dec, 2008

    I guess water wasnt included in the ingredients because everybody should have access to water. Hope this helps.

  • jjessika2 24 Dec, 2008

    I guess water wasnt listed in the ingredients, because everybody should have water at home.

  • cammu 21 Dec, 2008

    I don't understand...
    In the ingredients, no mention for the 1/4 water.
    In the directions, it say's 1/4 cup of water.
    Is there a mistake?

  • mizwidget 13 Apr, 2008

    My Mom found this recipe (or something similar) in a Clementine Paddleford recipe column back in the 1950's in a Sunday newspaper feature magazine called "This Week." The recipe is now in Paddleford's book "How America Eats," which you may be able to find in the out-of-print site These cookies are delicious!

  • mizwidget 13 Apr, 2008

    More about Clementine--a new book is coming out September 18, 2008: Hometown Appetites: The Story of Clementine Paddleford, the Forgotten Food Writer Who Chronicled How America Ate (Hardcover)
    by Kelly Alexander

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