These soft ginger molasses cookies are assertively spiced with ground ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom. There’s no chill time required and the dough contains more molasses than most recipes, leading to a crinkled and chewy cookie! Cardamom is the secret ingredient that really amps the flavor in these old-fashioned, super soft molasses cookies.
This recipe was originally published on December 20, 2017. As of December 9, 2021 it has been updated to include new photos, baking tips, and a recipe video! No surprise here, I’m still obsessed with this recipe and I hope you love it too.
Is there anything better than a deeply spiced, warming, gooey-centered and crispy-edged soft molasses cookie? With gingerbread flavors reminiscent of my dark and intense gingerbread cake, and those beautiful sparkles from rolling them in sugar, I honestly can’t think of a Christmas cookie I like better. Every December, these are the cookies I look forward to the most.
I realize that’s not a common opinion.
I suppose it’s understandable that the humble, old-fashioned molasses cookie sometimes gets pushed to the side when you have peanut butter blossoms and colorful sugar cookies and all manner of pepperminty chocolate things competing for attention. I get it.
But not today. Today, these super soft molasses cookies shine on their own stage.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Today we are going to celebrate this unassuming, chewy molasses ginger cookie for all the glory that it is: a warmly spiced, soft-centered, crispy-edged, sparkly hug. That’s right, a cookie hug.
I don’t know when I fell in love with (admittedly old-fashioned, or perhaps we’ll say classic) molasses cookies, but I’m pretty sure this love will last a lifetime. They’re just so comforting and friendly, yet a little spicy. There’s a lot of subtlety to them, a lot of intrigue. I’m a big fan of intrigue in my baked goods.
So what makes THESE soft molasses cookies the best ones?
- Complex flavor from ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves, AND cardamom (not many recipes use this and I think it makes a difference!)
- More molasses than most recipes call for so you get EXTRA flavor and richness
- NO CHILL TIME. Let me repeat, you do not have to chill this dough!
- Recipe yields 24 cookies for an adequate, yet not overwhelming amount of cookies.
- All-purpose flour
- Ground spices: ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom
- Baking soda and salt
- Granulated sugar and brown sugar (did you know brown sugar has molasses in it too? Double the molasses, hehe)
- Molasses (I use Grandma’s brand; see below for an explanation)
- Unsalted butter (many recipes call for shortening or vegetable oil but I much prefer the flavor and texture of butter in my molasses cookies)
- Coarse or granulated sugar for coating the outsides of the cookies and making them crinkly and sparkly
What kind of molasses should I use for the softest molasses cookies?
Any dark, standard store bought molasses will do (I usually use the Grandma’s brand with the yellow label) but do not use blackstrap molasses. Blackstrap is much more bitter and has less moisture than regular molasses because it is a later byproduct of the sugar-making process (the third boiling of sugarcane juice, whereas regular molasses comes from the second boiling).
How to Make Soft Ginger Molasses Cookies: Step by Step
I do recommend using a mixer for this molasses cookie dough for best results, but this is still a simple recipe. All we do is:
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl;
- Beat the wet ingredients together using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until they are the color and texture of creamy peanut butter (this takes 2-3 minutes on high speed!);
- Combine them using the lowest possible speed on your mixer until the dough just comes together;
- Scoop the cookie dough (I like using a #40 1.5 tablespoon scoop) and roll in sugar (or shake it in a ziploc bag with sugar, it’s easier and evenly coats the dough every time); and
- Bake for just 8-10 minutes! No chill time required.
If the dough seems overly sticky: Refrigerate it for an hour until it is firm enough to scoop. I have had some readers experience this issue, although I haven’t myself. Chilling the dough usually fixes the problem!
No mixer option: You could make the cookies without a mixer if you prefer, since we’re using melted butter in the dough. You’d just whisk the wet ingredients together QUITE vigorously until smooth and lighter in color, then add in the dry and combine with a rubber spatula until a dough forms.
For best texture in the final baked cookies, I like to use a mixer to incorporate the most air into the dough, resulting in crisp edges and soft interiors. It’s important to beat the butter, molasses, brown sugar and egg together until the mixture becomes a lighter color, reminiscent in both color and texture of smooth peanut butter.
Add the whisked dry ingredients slowly with the mixer on its lowest possible speed so your flour doesn’t fly all over the kitchen. Stop once you have a cohesive dough!
If the dough seems extremely sticky, you can refrigerate it for an hour and it should be scoopable. I usually find my dough to be just fine for scooping and rolling without the need to refrigerate, but kitchens and ingredients vary!
Use a cookie scoop for even, round cookies (I use this 1.5 tablespoon #40 cookie scoop and love it), roll them into balls, coat them in sugar, and then bake for 10 minutes or less.
Emerge with crackly, spicy, softest-ever molasses cookies, highly reminiscent of gingerbread. Congratulate self.
The other great thing about these cookies? They stay fresh and soft for a super long time.
- Room temperature: keep them well wrapped (I keep them in a small tupperware container) so they aren’t exposed to a lot of air, and these little bundles of joy will stay soft for-EVER…aka 5+ days.
- Refrigerator: up to 2 weeks
- Freezer: You can freeze the baked molasses cookies, well wrapped in plastic wrap in a freezer bag, and then set them out on the counter to defrost whenever you want them! Or, freeze the dough after you form it into balls, so you can have warm cookies on demand. Just bake from frozen and add 1-2 minutes to the bake time.
You can see in the photo below the difference between a cookie baked from room temperature dough (left), and a cookie baked directly from frozen dough (right). Both are soft and delicious, but the ones baked from frozen are slightly thicker in the center. I will never turn down a chewy molasses cookie so I like them both 🙂
I’m thinking these would be the perfect homemade Christmas cookie gifts in little bags or jars, if you’re into that sort of thing. I know I wouldn’t mind receiving one.
I wish you the most wonderful, stress-free, worry-free, cookie-filled Christmas and holiday season!
More Holiday Recipes
- Peanut Butter Blossoms
- Single Layer Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Snickerdoodle Cake
If you bake these soft ginger molasses cookies, please leave a star rating and review below! It helps other readers and means so much. Thank you!
Soft Ginger Molasses Cookies
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Pinch cardamom (optional)
- ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter melted and cooled
- ⅓ cup (67g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (50g) brown sugar packed
- 1 large egg
- ⅓ cup (80ml) molasses
- ¼ cup (50g) Coarse or granulated sugar, for rolling cookies (I use turbinado sugar)
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and cardamom. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat together melted butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, egg, and molasses with a hand mixer or stand mixer, on medium to medium-high speed, until fluffy and well combined — about 2 minutes. It should turn a lighter brown and be the color and texture of smooth peanut butter.
- While mixer is running on its lowest speed, slowly add flour mixture a bit at a time to the molasses mixture. Don’t dump the whole thing in at once or you’ll have flour everywhere. Stop when the mixture is just combined – don’t overbeat.
- Put coarse or granulated sugar in a bowl or on a plate. Use a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop or spoon to scoop out dough, then roll into a ball between your hands. Roll the ball in the sugar until it is coated, then place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining dough, keeping balls about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, until cookies are puffed and spread, and cracks have developed on the tops. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a rack to cool completely.
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Gah. Those crackles. They get me every time.