Samaritan Counseling Center
50 Fabulous Men Who Cook
John Barber

John Barber

John C. Barber, MD TIPS $500

Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology


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Dr. John C. Barber is an ophthalmologist who spent a career treating patients and training future ophthalmologists. He trained at Washington University Medical School in St. Louis, Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (Harvard) in Boston. He lived in Marblehead, Massachusetts for two years where he was introduced to the famous Joe Frogger's rum and molasses spice cookies and learned how to make them.

Joe Frogger was an emancipated black man who lived next to the frog pond in Marblehead. If someone would bring him a jug of rum, he would bake them a batch of his famous cookies. They were popular with the fishermen who would take them when they fished the Grand Banks because the rum and salt made them stay soft and chewy for many days.

Dr. Barber's specialties are breads, cakes, pies and cookies.

Dr. Barber is now retired and writes books about the practice of medicine and ophthalmology. His books for non-physicians include: The Joy of Medical Practice: Forty Years of Interesting Patients, and Hey Doc! What's Wrong with My Eye? A General Guide to Eye Symptoms.

Since I am retired, I cannot rely on my patients to sponsor me. I need your help! Please tip generously!


(CATEGORY: Desserts)
Recipe makes about 24 large (4-5") cookies


3 1/2 Cups Flour

1 Tsp. Baking Soda

1 Tsp. Salt

1 1/2 Tsp. Ground Cloves

1/2 Tsp. Ground Nutmeg

1/4 Tsp. Ground Allspice

1/4 Cup Water

1/4 Cup Dark Rum (to skip rum, use 1/2 cup water)

1 Cup Molasses

1/2 Cup (1 stick) Butter, Softened

1 Cup Sugar (plus sugar for sprinkling)

In a bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and allspice. In another bowl, blend water, molasses and rum. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until blended. Add flour mixture alternately with molasses mixture, beginning and ending with flour until just incorporated, scraping down sides of the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least three hours or overnight.

Let dough sit at room temperature for one hour or until soft enough to scoop. Set the oven to 375◦. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using 1/2 of the dough, drop batter in approximately 1/4 cup mounds on parchment, 6 to each baking sheet. Space at least 2 inches apart as dough will spread. Sprinkle generously with sugar. Flatten mounds slightly with spoon and restore roundness.

Bake for 16-18 minutes, turning and shifting sheets on racks after 8-9 minutes. Cookies are done when just firm to touch and starting to crack. Transfer parchment to wire racks to cool for 10 minutes before removing cookies from parchment. Parchment can be reused for second half of dough.

Store in airtight container with waxed or parchment paper between layers for up to 2 weeks. Flavors blend and improve for the first few days.

Adapted from recipe by Sheryl Julian on the Boston Globe webpage.

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