My Grandma’s Grandma’s Soft Ginger Cookies With Spring Rhubarb

I must confess that before this recipe, my experience with rhubarb had been limited to eating an occasional slice of rhubarb pie.

When I noticed fresh stalks of rosy rhubarb at Sidney’s Health Market in Moorhead, MN, I grabbed a fistful.

The past work week was kind of a doozy, so I decided to bake a treat that I hoped would provide a little cheer.  Or some delicious empty calories, at the very least.

I found my Grandma Bossen’s recipe for her Grandma Bossen’s ginger cookies in an old, cloth covered cookbook published by her church’s alter guild, circa 1976.  For as long as my mother was living, we baked these ginger cookies each Christmas season.

We rolled the dough into little balls and dunked them into brightly colored sugars and sprinkles.  Now that I think of it, I don’t remember eating these ginger cookies since my mom passed away.

I took a gamble and added fresh rhubarb to the cookie dough.  The fruit added a tiny burst of tartness that melded nicely with the fragrant ginger cookie.  My grandma’s cookies were hard and ginger snappy, while the fruit also lent some moisture to mine.

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 Tbsp. light molasses (I used 3 Tbsp. “regular” molasses)
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp each of ginger, cloves, cinnamon, & salt
1 1/2 stalks of rhubarb +, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cream the butter and sugar.  Add the molasses.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon.  Add the salt and incorporate.

Stir the dry ingredients into the wet, adding half at a time.

Roll the dough into small balls, dip into sugar, and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  The cookies should crackle at the top.  Mine were firmer out the outside and soft on the inside.

Cool completely before storing.


  1. Anonymous

    do you have an estimate for how many cups 1 1/2 stalks of rhubarb works out to be? I’ve got quite the variety of rhubarb stalk sizes right now, and I can’t wait to make these cookies!!

  2. beingconformed

    An interesting addition! Thank you for sharing your family recipe.

  3. Jen

    i’m terrible at measuring…it may have been about 1/2 cup? next time i might use a little more. over the course of a week, the rhubarb dried a bit and became like dried fruit.

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