Friday, November 1, 2019

Felicity's Raleigh Tavern Cookies

A trip down memory lane via the oven!

A fun part of starting this blog has meant I've discovered how easy it is to find recipes replicating treats you might have thought you could only enjoy on vacation to places like Disney World or Colonial Williamsburg. These might not always be authentically historic, but I still like giving them a shot because whipping up a batch of Brunswick stew in your kitchen is a lot cheaper than driving all the way to Williamsburg... or hopping on a plane to enjoy Le Cellier's beer cheese soup in Epcot. 

The recipe I'm going to share with you today is a staple of Colonial Williamsburg, and a treat that I always eat at least one or two of on my visits to the museum: Raleigh Tavern ginger cookies. You can smell these fluffy cookies whenever you walk by the bake shop, and Williamsburg even offers to ship them to you via their online store. But if you're hoping to make your own, look no further.

The recipe was posted in the comments section of Colonial Williamsburg's historic foodways blog, and is not historically authentic so much as historically inspired. Fine by me, as the cookies are still really tasty regardless. They're also very easy to make, which felt like the perfect way to ease back into actually posting on the blog again. I didn't mean to take the entire month of October off, but here we are. 

I didn't end up taking any in progress photos, because the cookies are pretty straight forward: combine 6 cups of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda, 2 teaspoons of ginger, 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 cup of sugar in a large bowl. Add 1 cup of molasses, 1/2 of a cup of evaporated milk, and 1 cup of melted butter and mix everything together to form a dough. The dough should be stiff enough to handle without feeling gunky on your fingers and doesn't need to be chilled before you roll it out. I had to add a little more flour to get mine workable. 

Roll out the cookies to 1/4 inch thickness and cut them into round shapes. They bake in the oven for about 12 minutes, and then they're ready to eat!

Mine didn't come out as dome shaped as the ones I've eaten in Williamsburg before, and I had to use blackstrap molasses so they're definitely a little darker than they should be, but they still were tasty. If you want a more cakey cookie like the ones you buy in Williamsburg, I'd recommend rolling them out a little thicker and maybe even just forming them by hand. 

Regardless, these definitely tasted pretty similar to the cookies from the museum, and they were so easy to make that I'd definitely like to make them again. The recipe also divides in half very easily if you don't want a kitchen full of cookies, and the cookies come out so uniformly that you could easily make an impressive Colonial stacked tower with them if you so chose.

It's funny, after I finished taking pictures, I ate a couple cookies and drank the rest of my tea sitting on the floor with Felicity and the scene I'd constructed for photos. Something about the combination of eating the familiar cookies, drinking out of Colonial Williamsburg authentic china and staring at the lovingly recreated version of one of Williamsburg's shops made me feel more like a little kid playing with dolls than I have since I started doing this blog. It was a fun, nostalgic way to spend a Sunday morning, and if you're looking for a similarly comforting trip down memory lane - or just an easy spice cookie recipe - I'd definitely recommend giving this a shot for yourself.

Maybe they'll end up making an appearance on our family's holiday cookie tray this year!


  1. The china, cookies and Felicity all look beautiful! These sound delicious. Are they the kind that you can dunk if they get stale and crisp or with the molasses, do they get more moist as they age? Gotta love a good spiced cookie dipped in your tea!

  2. Hello! This sounds delicious and I want to try it. Question for you: is the ginger dried/powdered (like from a jar), or shaved/grated fresh off a ginger root? Thanks!
    Glad you had such a good time with Felicity and her cookies and scene, too. I just got back into doll things as an adult, and I am enjoying an occasional break in life to sit with a doll and clothes or accessories or a scene...another reason to do this recipe soon! Thanks for sharing!