Cry Babies Drop Cookies

This recipe is from the 1941 Assistance League’s Pleasing Food cookbook that I’ve recently written about. I’ve seen recipes for cry baby drop cookies before and they are always a variation of this recipe. Some include nuts or raisins, but this seems to be a fairly basic recipe that is consistent with other cry babies cookies I’ve seen. From what I’ve researched, they date back to at least the 1930s, but everyone tends to have a different story about their origin.

Cry Babes Drop Cookies

  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c molasses
  • 1/2 c lard or vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 c boiling coffee in which dissolved:
  • 2 tsp soda

Stir well and add

  • 4 1/2 c flour

Drop by teaspoon full on cookie sheet. Bake for 12 min at 375°F. White icing with lemon or peppermint extract may be used. (Definitely check these before 12 minutes.)


This recipe calls for peppermint or lemon icing, but I’ve also seen recipes with buttercream frosting and glazes. We used a modern frosting and flavored it with peppermint extract. The cookies are also excellent plain.

The cookies were light and fluffy. Different recipes I’ve seen call for different spice combos–nutmeg and cinnamon are often included–but I think this recipe works well. It’s a moist, cake-like cookie that should please even folks who don’t really love molasses. The molasses is there, but it’s not overwhelming.

If you have a favorite version of this cookie, I’d love to see your recipe. Do you frost yours? Or leave them plain? Do you also call them Cry Baby cookies or something similar?

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