One of the things we’ve been doing with our down time at the Wren’s Nest is taking stock of our archives and collection. We have some interesting and curious items dating back 150 years. A fun example: a booklet titled, “Brer Rabbit’s Modern Recipes for Modern Living,” issued circa 1950 by Brer Rabbit Molasses.
Yes, there’s a brand of molasses named for our favorite trickster bunny. Trademarked in 1907 — a year before Joel Chandler Harris died — Brer Rabbit Molasses was made for decades by a food company in New Orleans. It’s still marketed by B&G Foods, a New Jersey-based conglomerate whose stable includes 50 or so labels like Green Giant, Clabber Girl, Cream of Wheat, and Mrs. Dash.
The fashionably retro booklet includes more than a hundred recipes for breads, cakes, cookies, candies, pies, puddings, sauces, frozen deserts, and a few savory dishes like molasses-cured ham and that old rabbit favorite: molasses-glazed carrots.
If Brer Rabbit ate like this, he could forget about outrunning Brer Fox. Shoot, he couldn’t get his furry behind down a rabbit hole!
We’re eager to try Brer Rabbit Molasses in a barbecue sauce. But first we tried these molasses ginger cookies. Wren’s Nest supporter Pam Auchmutey tested the recipe using a rabbit-shaped cookie cutter that she just happened to have among her baking supplies. You never know when you’re going to need a rabbit cookie cutter!
We’ve included the recipe below so you can try making the cookies yourself at home.
Molasses Ginger Rabbits
Makes 15 cookies, using a large rabbit-head cookie cutter
2¾ cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger (or more for sharper taste)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
⅔ cup Brer Rabbit Molasses (spray measuring cup with PAM to pour easily into other ingredients)
⅓ cup brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
½ cup shortening, melted
Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Mix molasses with brown sugar, egg and shortening and then gradually add to dry ingredients to make a soft dough using a mixer. Chill dough for 1 hour. Then roll dough on floured board and cut with floured cookie cutters.
Bake on greased cookie sheet (or sheet lined with parchment paper) in moderately hot oven (375 degrees F)* for 12 minutes. Makes 15 rabbit-head cookies. Let cookies cool and then decorate with cookie icing.
*If oven runs hot like Pam’s, bake at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes.
One more thing: You can still find the Brer Rabbit recipe booklet for sale on antiquarian book sites and Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Brer-
Our copy isn’t for sale.