30 In Desserts

“The Best” Soft Ginger Molasses Cookies

Remember our healthy cookies from last week? In general, we love to make desserts that are on the “light” side, even if it involves adding non-traditional items like black beans. So this holiday season, we set out to find some light / healthy cookie recipes.

Somewhere along the line, we learned a crucial lesson: sometimes, cookies aren’t meant to be healthy.

We had lots of failed cookie experiments over the past few weeks. Turns out, ripe bananas or apple sauce don’t exactly equal butter and sugar. And there’s something about the texture of a cookie that’s very hard to replicate without the magic of butter.

So while we found one “healthier” cookie we liked (and one really tasty healthy-ish dessert), we now bring to you — a cookie with white flour, butter, and sugar. Because, these are “real” foods too. And, if you enjoy a reasonably whole foods diet most of the time, it’s always good to have a splurge or two, especially around the holidays.

The perfect splurge for us is a ginger molasses cookie. We were terribly excited to develop this recipe, because it’s everything we’re looking for in a cookie — amped up with aromatic spices like ginger, cloves, and cinnamon, with a tinge of dark molasses, a delightfully chewy texture, and a crunch of turbinado sugar.

We did use natural turbinado cane sugar, a slightly less processed version of sugar than white sugar, which brings a nice sweetness without being overpowering. Overall, our perfect cookie.

Gluten-free or dairy-free? Check out these dessert recipes instead:
Chocolate Black Bean Cookies
Peppermint Ice Cream and Hot Cocoa “Affogato”
Gingerbread Dough Truffles
Raw Brownies
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Dark Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream
Easy Peppermint Stick Ice Cream
Natural Chocolate Mint Pudding

Soft Ginger Molasses Cookies
Serves: 24 cookies
What You Need
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup turbinado raw cane sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup molasses
  • Extra sugar for rolling
What To Do
  1. In a bowl, add 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon allspice, ½ teaspoon ground cloves, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Mix well to combine.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer (or with a hand-mixer), beat together ¾ cup butter and ¾ cup turbinado sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add 1 egg and ½ cup molasses and mix to combine. Then stir in the dry ingredients. Refrigerate the batter 1 hour.
  4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375°F.
  5. Roll the dough into 1 ½" balls, then roll the balls in turbinado sugar to coat the outsides. Arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake in oven until set and crinkled on top, about 10 to 12 minutes (around 10 minutes for smaller cookies and 12 for larger). Remove from the oven and cool slightly.
Adapted from Food 52

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  • Reply
    December 12, 2012 at 12:48 am

    Hehe, for a second there in the picture it looked there was quinoa in them ;).

    • Reply
      December 12, 2012 at 8:41 am

      Haha! I wouldn’t put it past us, but no. :)

  • Reply
    December 12, 2012 at 5:37 am

    I completely agree with this philosophy – I’ve spent far too long on failed baking experiments not to appreciate that butter, flour and sugar have been used to bake sweet treats for many hundreds of years for a good reason! And if you can’t enjoy a little bit of everything at Christmas then when can you? I love the spice of these cookies, perfect for the holiday season!

  • Reply
    December 12, 2012 at 10:20 am

    I couldn’t agree with you more! Christmas is the time of white flour, white sugar, butter, &, maybe, some shortening too! These cookies look delicious!
    Writing Pad Dad

  • Reply
    Loretta | A Finn In The Kitchen
    December 12, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    These are the darkest ginger molasses cookies I’ve seen and they look divine!

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    December 12, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Ginger molasses is definitely one of my fav’s! Love this recipe!

  • Reply
    December 12, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    I want to make these into ice cream sandwiches so badly. I have some salted caramel in my freezer that would be perfect!

  • Reply
    jackie @ Marin mama cooks
    December 13, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    I agree with you. I love a “healthier” dessert once in a while, but find when it comes to dessert, I tend to go for the real stuff. I do use 60% dark chocolate or higher when baking and find that makes a difference. My kids have gotten so use to dark chocolate in their baked goods and such that they really don’t like candy or milk chocolate anymore.
    I have to tell you that molasses cookies are my absolute favorite and I can’t wait to make these over the Holiday break. I tend to use blackstrap molasses when I make up ginger cookies and was curious if you think it would make a difference if I use it for this recipe?
    Love the new look of the blog!
    Jackie :)

    • Reply
      December 15, 2012 at 1:41 pm

      Thanks, Jackie! We have never used blackstrap molasses before, but I’ve seen that it has a bit stronger taste — which I think would be a nice addition to these cookies! Let us know if you try it — I’m eager to hear how it might work out.

  • Reply
    December 15, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Hallelujah! Well said, Sister.

  • Reply
    December 19, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    These are flipping delicious. I happened to stumble in here from food gawker and I’m so glad i did! My obsession with molasses is re-ignited!

    • Reply
      December 19, 2012 at 5:48 pm

      Yay! Glad you found us and enjoyed the recipe!

  • Reply
    Denise knight
    December 19, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Oh holy night… These are the best cookies I’ve ever eaten! I’m so glad I made these despite being pooped out! I substituted the sugar with a blend of 1/4 cup regular white sugar, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar/Splenda blend, and 1/5 cup Splenda and they still came out amazing! Thanks so much for posting!

    • Reply
      December 19, 2012 at 9:18 pm

      Haha! So glad they they worked out for you :)

  • Reply
    January 3, 2013 at 12:38 am

    Sonja & Alex, look what I’ve made….


    • Reply
      January 3, 2013 at 10:11 pm

      They look lovely! So glad you found them to be tasty too! :)

  • Reply
    Heidi - Apples Under My Bed
    January 7, 2013 at 5:21 am

    Well said, here here. These look just so delectable. Gorgeous post.
    Heidi xo

  • Reply
    January 25, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    These look really good but would it be possible to substitute extra molasses for the sugar?

    • Reply
      January 26, 2013 at 10:03 am

      I’m not a confident enough baker to know the answer to that – sorry :-) Let us know if you try it!

  • Reply
    May 6, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Do you think I could make men out of these? I’ve been looking for a recipe and this seems like it but I’d love to let my kids cut them out.

    • Reply
      May 6, 2013 at 5:20 pm


      The way that the cookies are prepared, I think it would be difficult to roll out the dough and make cut-outs…however, you never know unless you try! Let us know if you try them :)

  • Reply
    September 2, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    These are marvelous (: I made a smaller batch of them, and I had 8…. *sheepish grin.* Needless to say, I took an extra long run the other day. Best warm <3

  • Reply
    Mini baker
    November 19, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Can I make the dough ahead and freeze it, only to bake some days before Christmas? Can I bake them straight from the freezer? If so, at the same temperature for how long? I will be trying them with blackstrap molasses! They look so delicious! Thank you!

    • Reply
      November 19, 2013 at 9:45 pm

      Hi! We’ve never tried freezing it, but I would think it would work fine. Unfortunately, I don’t know about the the temperature! Hope you enjoy!

  • Reply
    Erin Cram
    November 27, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    We added diced candied ginger to these fabulous cookies!

    • Reply
      December 1, 2013 at 3:50 pm

      Yum, sounds like a great addition!

  • Reply
    December 3, 2013 at 10:38 am

    My husband loves ginger cookies so I found your recipe. I used the last of my light molasses on the last batch and used blackstrap this time. Wasn’t sure if my husband would like them, but he LOVED them, yay, thanks for the recipe.

  • Reply
    December 11, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    I made this recipe and used blackstrap molasses. Instead af chilling, I spread in a 9×13 greased pan and baked @350 for 22ish minutes. It produced a light, soft ginger bar the texture of a brownie. I think I may decrease the bake time next time for a more gooey texture. Definitely wonderful and easier than cookies. :) My hubby said the house smelled “heavenly!”

    • Reply
      December 12, 2014 at 8:56 am

      Interesting! We’ll have to try it.

  • Reply
    Sarmishta | Handful
    December 28, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Wow, these are AMAZING! I can’t stop eating them- probably be finished in a few minutes now.
    I used paanakam (a kind of molasses) from my home town in India and they turned out fantastic! Thank you!

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