Sweater weather is finally here and in case you haven’t noticed, we’re in full-on Fall baking mode. If it’s filled with pumpkin, cinnamon or apple spice – it’s on the menu! If you haven’t tried my Apple Spice Cake or the best ever Pumpkin Bread Recipe, the time is now my friends. Oh, and these Chewy Pumpkin Snickerdoodles also need to be at the top of your baking list!
Now that Fall is finally here, all I can think about are these Soft and Chewy Molasses Cookies that I’ve already baked three times! Yep. THREE times. They’re just that good!
Molasses cookies v. gingersnaps v. gingerbread
Spiced cookies are a holiday staple and you’ve probably noshed on your fair share of grandma’s molasses cookies and gingersnaps. And let’s not forget about everyone’s childhood favorite – gingerbread cut-out cookies. All of these cookies contain similar amounts of warming spices like ginger, cinnamon and cloves and equal amounts of molasses (typically about ¼ cup).
The difference between them all comes down to how the cookie crumbles. Gingersnaps bake for longer than gingerbread, making them the crispiest of the three cookies. Gingerbread is almost always rolled out into shapes and bakes up slightly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
Molasses cookies, arguably the most crave-worthy of the three, are delightfully soft and chewy and are rolled in sugar before baking. My kind of cookie!
Why you’ll love these cookies
These easy molasses cookies taste like they’re straight from a bakery. Made with rich, brown butter and bursting with warm cozy spices these cookies are everything I crave in a holiday cookie. Here’s a few reasons why you’ll love these cookies:
- Quick and easy to make. These cookies are made extra delicious with the magic of brown butter. While we do have to wait for the butter to chill until firm once browned, it’s absolutely worth the extra step. And once the dough is mixed, there’s no chilling or rolling out of the dough required. Just scoop, roll and bake!
- Stay fresh for days. If you love a soft molasses cookie that tastes even better on the second (and third!) day after baking, this is the recipe for you. Thanks to a combination of butter, molasses and coconut oil, the cookies have soft, moist centers that hold their flavor and texture for days – if they last that long!
- Amazing texture! Those crackly, sugar-dusted tops make these a serious contender for the world’s best Christmas cookie! It’s impossible to eat just one.
- Great for gift giving. This is a sturdy cookie that stands up well to travel. Tote them to your holiday office party or pack them up to ship to faraway family members. People will go crazy for these cookies and they won’t crumble en route. And because they stay fresh well beyond the day they are baked, you can make them ahead of time and trust that they’ll still be soft and full of flavor upon arrival.
Baking perfectly soft and chewy molasses cookies from scratch is easy and I bet you already have all of the ingredients stocked in your pantry. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Flour – regular unbleached all-purpose flour is all you need for this recipe. Too much flour is often the culprit for dry, crumbly cookies so be sure to accurately measure the flour using a digital kitchen scale.
- Butter – for this recipe we will brown the butter and then chill it until firm so that it creams together with the sugars just as softened butter would. Allow time to bring the brown butter back to room temperature once it’s reached a solid state in the refrigerator. If you’ve never browned butter before, not to worry. Visit this post for all the details on how to brown butter from start to finish. It’s so easy!
- Coconut oil – this recipe calls for half butter and half coconut oil because I love the flavor and texture it delivers. Use unrefined and organic coconut oil for best results. It’s minimally processed and has a very mild coconut flavor, which I promise you won’t taste in the cookies! The oil should be room temperature and soft, not melted.
- Brown sugar and granulated sugar – a combination of sugars makes these cookies sweet (but not too sweet) and also gives them their addictively delicious soft and chewy texture.
- Molasses – I prefer the flavor of regular dark molasses (unsulphured) over light molasses. Blackstrap molasses is a bit too bold for my taste. Keep a jar of molasses stocked in your pantry – it stays fresh for at least a year and requires no refrigeration.
- Spices – the best molasses cookies have the perfect blend of spices including cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Feel free to tinker with the exact quantities to suit your taste.
How to make molasses cookies
Baking fresh molasses cookies is quick and easy. Invite some friends over while you bake because your kitchen will smell amaazzinngg!! Follow this simple step-by-step guide and check the recipe card below for ingredients and detailed instructions.
Step 1: Brown the butter. Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a medium saucepan. Once melted, stir frequently as the butter crackles and foams. The butter will begin to form brown bits that fall to the bottom of the pan. This takes about 5 minutes. Carefully pour the butter into a heat safe bowl and refrigerate until firm, about 30-40 minutes. Remove the butter from the refrigerator and leave at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes to soften slightly.
Step 2: Cream the brown butter, coconut oil and sugars together. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the brown butter, coconut oil, brown sugar and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Step 3: Add the egg. Make sure the egg is at room temperature and mix well until fully combined.
Step 4: Mix in the molasses. Beat on low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Step 5: Add the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, spices and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients in two additions until incorporated. Do not over mix.
Step 6: Roll the dough into balls and cover in sugar. For picture perfect cookies I really like to weigh each piece of dough using a kitchen scale. Each of the cookies will be uniform in size and bake evenly. I love a giant molasses cookie so I scoop them into 2 ounce balls. Roll the dough between your hands until round and then gently toss them in a bowl of granulated sugar until completely covered.
Step 7: Press down gently to flatten the dough just slightly. Using the palm of your hand or the bottom of a glass or measuring cup, carefully press down on the top of the dough balls to flatten the tops. We don’t want the cookies to be thin when baked so avoid pressing too hard.
Step 8: Bake the cookies in a preheated 325°F oven for 10 to 12 minutes. The cookies will be puffed in the center and the tops should be cracked. Do not over bake. As the cookies cool they will sink down and all the cracks and crinkles will settle in. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Dust with more sugar if desired.
Tips for soft and chewy molasses cookies
I cannot get enough of these cookies. With their crisp edges, moist centers and the perfect hint of cozy spices, I have a feeling these cookies will be your new favorite holiday tradition. Follow the tips below for perfectly baked cookies every time.
- Weigh the cookie dough balls. For even baking and uniform cookies I always recommend weighing the dough first. This way all of the cookies will bake at the same rate and look picture perfect on your cookie platter.
- Do not over bake. As the cookies bake they will puff up in the centers and look a bit delicate. Once you see those signature cracks on top of the cookies and the edges are set, remove the cookies from the oven. As the cookies cool they will deflate and crisp up even more around the edges. Don’t be tempted to leave the cookies in the oven too long or they will be hard.
- Bake one sheet at a time. The cookies do spread in the oven so place the balls two inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Because the oven temperature can vary from the top to bottom shelf, I recommend baking the cookies on the center rack one sheet at a time for consistent results.
- Cool for 10 minutes. These cookies will smell heavenly fresh from the oven but believe me, you want to hold off on that first bite for at least 10 minutes. Allow time for those cracks and crevasses to settle in and the centers to fully bake through. These cookies actually taste best a day or two after baking once all of the flavors and textures have had time to marry together.
How to store cookies
I can almost guarantee these cookies won’t even make it to the cookie jar but if you do have a few leftover, store them tightly covered at room temperature. To keep them extra fresh, place a piece of soft bread in the container alongside the cookies.
One of the things I love most about these molasses cookies is that they freeze beautifully. To freeze them before baking, place the dough balls (before rolling in sugar) on a parchment lined baking sheet in the freezer for about an hour. Then transfer the cookie balls to a large plastic bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
When ready to bake, defrost the cookie dough at room temperature and then roll in sugar just before baking.
To freeze the baked cookies, cool them completely and then wrap tightly in a plastic bag. Store flat in the freezer for up to three months. Defrost at room temperature before serving with your favorite hot apple cider or cup of warm cocoa. Or, pop one in the microwave for 10 seconds and you’ll feel like you’re eating a cookie fresh from the oven.
Regular dark molasses gives these cookies a deep, robust flavor without being too overpowering. For a rich flavor that combines nicely with the warm spices, I recommend using Grandma’s Unsulphured Molasses. Not sponsored, just a fan. Generally speaking, I do not bake with blackstrap molasses as I find the flavor a bit too bold and slightly bitter.
Absolutely! These cookies will stay fresh for nearly a full week at room temperature so they’re the perfect make-ahead dessert.
Yes. For an extra dose of gingery goodness and added crunch, add up to a 1/4 cup of diced candied ginger. Talk about a quintessential holiday treat!
If you over bake the cookies or add too much flour, they will bake up hard and crunchy instead of soft and chewy. Be sure to measure your flour correctly, bake no more than the suggested time and check your oven temperature using an oven thermometer.
A delicious idea! I use granulated sugar for this recipe simply for convenience but rolling the cookies in course sparkling sugar would add a touch of sparkle and crunch. You can also use natural cane sugar which also has a slightly courser texture than standard granulated sugar.
Yes. I recommend a stand mixer for this recipe because after adding the dry ingredients, the dough can get a bit thick and tough to mix by hand. If you don’t have a stand mixer, a hand-held mixer will work just fine.
I know it’s still October but I hereby declare these Soft and Chewy Molasses Cookies my favorite Christmas cookie of the year! Bake a batch today or bookmark the recipe for the holidays. Either way, these cookies are an absolute must-make!
Looking for more easy and delicious Fall recipes? Try one of these favorites:
Put these seriously delicious soft and chewy molasses cookies at the tippy top of your holiday baking list. With their crispy edges, chewy centers and sugar-dusted tops, people will go crazy for these cookies! Perfect for your annual holiday cookie swap or for shipping to far away friends and family.
- 2 1/2 cups (310 g) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
- 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter, browned but in solid form at room temperature
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, soft but not melted
- 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (100 g) light brown sugar, packed
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1/4 cup (80 g) dark molasses, not blackstrap
- granulated sugar, for rolling cookies
- To brown the butter, begin by melting it in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stirring occasionally, continue to heat the butter. It will begin to crackle and foam. Continue stirring frequently for about 5 minutes until the butter begins to brown. Small bits of golden brown milk solids will form in the bottom of the pan. The butter is ready when it stops making the crackling sound and the color turns amber. Remove from the heat and immediately pour into a heat-safe bowl. Scrape the bits of brown butter from the bottom of the pan into the bowl. Refrigerate the butter until firm, about 45 minutes to an hour.
- Once firm, remove the butter from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Fill a small bowl with about 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the brown butter, coconut oil, brown sugar and granulated sugar together for about 2 minutes. The mixture should be light and fluffy.
- Add the egg and mix to combine well, about 30 seconds.
- Add the molasses and mix on low speed until incorporated.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients one cup at a time until just combined. Do not over mix.
- Use a large cookie scoop to portion out 2 ounce balls of dough. Use your hands to roll the dough into a ball and then roll the ball in the bowl of granulated sugar.
- Place the cookies on the prepared cookie sheets, leaving 2 inches of space between each cookie. Use the palm of your hand or the bottom of a measuring cup to gently flatten the top of the cookies.
- Bake one sheet at a time on the center rack of the oven for 11-12 minutes or until there are cracks on the tops of the cookies. Remove the cookies from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.
- Carefully transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Dust with additional granulated sugar if desired.
To freeze the cookie dough before baking, roll the dough into balls and freeze on a parchment lined baking sheet for about an hour. Transfer the dough balls to a plastic freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, defrost the dough at room temperature and then roll in granulated sugar before baking.
Store the cookies tightly covered at room temperature for up to one week.
Keywords: molasses cookies, soft and chewy molasses cookies, old fashioned molasses cookies