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Joe Froggers Cookies

Joe Froggers Cookies
15 votes, 3.93 avg. rating (78% score)
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Joe Froggers are 200-year old New England cookie royalty, and even if the name isn’t a familiar one to you, spend a little time here and before long you’ll be reaching for the molasses so you never have to be without them again.

Joe Froggers Cookies
Photo/Art by Aimee Seavey
Joe Froggers — large, chewy, and sweetened with molasses.

The cookies originated in Marblehead, MA in the late 18th century, where a couple known as Aunt Crease and Old Black Joe Brown maintained a pond-side tavern.  Inside, they served spirits and enormous salad-plate sized cookies flavored with molasses, rum, and spices, nicknamed “Joe’s Froggers” as an ode to the large frogs living in the pond.  Because the molasses and rum helped them stay soft and chewy for a long time, they were extremely popular not only with local residents, but with sailors heading out to sea.

The popularity continues today.  Unlike ultra-crispy gingersnaps, Joe Frogger cookies have a lightly crisp edge and a soft, chewy center.  Most of today’s Joe Froggers run a lot smaller than their colonial counterparts, but if you want the real deal you can swap out your 2-inch cookie cutter for the mouth of a large coffee can.

This is a sticky dough, so I also opted to make the cookies by breaking off pieces of dough, rolling them into balls, then pressing them down with the bottom of a drinking glass before baking, rather than rolling out the dough and using a cookie cutter.

Have a glass of milk ready and be willing to share – Yankee staffers found it hard to eat just one!

Joe Froggers Recipe Links
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Aimee Seavey


Aimee Seavey


As Yankee's Digital Editor, Aimee manages, produces, and promotes content for Yankee's digital and social media initiatives. A lifelong New Englander, she loves history and a good Massachusetts South Shore bar pizza.
Updated Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

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4 Responses to Joe Froggers Cookies

  1. Jen @ March 10, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

    These sounds awesome. I love molasses in cookies – it makes them so soft and chewy. I’ve never heard of Joe Froggers, but I might just have to try them.

  2. Joan Morgan December 14, 2015 at 11:12 pm #

    I have this story on the Joe Frogger recipe that my mother gave me…that was 70 years ago. They have been made every Christmas since then and are a big hit in our family.


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