Weeknight Cooking

Ginger Spiced Molasses Sugar Cookies

November  1, 2010

Ginger Spiced Molasses Sugar Cookies

- Jenny

There are those who seek their thrills from pâte à choux, and others who find pleasure in the perfect whipped meringue. Me, I dream of gingerbread.

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First of all, it is awfully fun to make, especially with those recipes that call for dumping baking soda into a hot cauldron of sticky brew, and standing back as it rises like a volcano. Further, it comes in so many diverting forms. There are ginger snaps, gingerbread boys -- their little noses fashioned from red hots -- and plain old Guy Fawkes cakes, a gingerbread heavy on molasses that goes perfectly with a cup of strong coffee.

If you too believe that life in greatly enhanced by the marriage of ginger and molasses, and want it in a weeknight treat, I recommend you turn to Ginger Spiced Molasses Sugar Cookies.

A few weeks ago, I was putting together doughs for a housewarming party, which I froze and then baked on the day of the event. I had plenty of chocolate confections, and my new standard, the brown sugar cookie. I needed something else.

A ginger cookie seemed like great middle ground, one that seeks to please all palates and offend only those opposed to its most inherent qualities, which unlike chocolate chip cookies, does not demand partisan loyalty. It is the state controller of desserts -- really what’s not to like? And do you even know what it does?

This is a weeknight dessert because it takes less time to whip up than a burrito. Regular bakers will find all of the needed ingredients around the house. There is something incredibly chewy about this version, and highly spicy, even without the candied addition (which I did not put in) perhaps because it calls for a bit more molasses than many ginger cookie recipes. You will note that TasteFood asks you to form rather large balls, but just do it, because you want these cookies to be a little decadent in size.

If you are thinking of freezing cookie dough for holiday baking I suggest you add this to your list. The one night after work you decide that if you are forced to press out one more ill-shaped wreath that burns along the edges you are going to scream into the night, or at least take a very long walk around the block during which you ponder why it is that you are doing all the holiday baking even though you really like it but could someone else maybe fold a load of laundry, this recipe is going to bail you out.

Ginger Spiced Molasses Sugar Cookies

By TasteFood

Makes 24

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1/3 cup finely diced candied ginger (optional)
  • granulated sugar for rolling


1. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, salt and cloves in a bowl and mix well.

2. Beat butter and sugar together in bowl of electric mixer until light and fluffy, 3 minutes.

3. Add egg and molasses. Mix to combine well. Stir in dry ingredients. Stir in candied ginger if using. Refrigerate batter 1 hour.

4. Preheat oven to 375 F. Roll dough into 1 1/2" balls. Roll balls in granulated sugar. Arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake in oven until set and crinkled on top, about 12 minutes. Remove and cool.

By day, Jennifer Steinhauer, aka Jenny, covers Congress for The New York Times. By night, she is an obsessive cook.

Jennifer Steinhauer

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jeongeun August 24, 2012
mm, that cookie looks terrific! YES, no shortening!
ladylinks March 13, 2012
Forgot to comment way back when about this recipe... yowza they were delicious! A perfect combo of a slight chew in the middle with a nice crisp on the bottom/edges. Yup, this is a great recipe!
whitneygerhard September 11, 2011
Just came across this recipe. Though it's summertime in Northern California I couldn't resist making a batch. So amazing! Definitely adding these to my holiday cookie repertoire!
lois November 17, 2010
I have the last cookie sheet in the oven. They are quite tasty, but really: if you only get 24 cookies out of this recipe, you are baking Frisbees. I doubled it and ended up with at least 8 dozen very nicely sized cookies. My kids will be thrilled and I have the freezer space to store them, but if you aren't aiming for volume, BEWARE!
Margaret M. November 10, 2010
Laid in a supply of molasses for holiday baking and can't wait to try these. Do they come out crispy or slightly soft and chewy? I'm hoping for slightly soft and chewy!
mtrelaun November 12, 2010
I just made a batch, and they come out a bit of both -- soft in the center, with slightly crispy edges. Incredible!
Ariane November 8, 2010
Delicious! These were a big hit after dinner tonight. Maybe too big a hit - only 4 left. Which means I need to make more soon. Thanks so much!
rachmcc November 7, 2010
These sound great! Has anyone tried making these at high altitude? (We're at 7,000 feet)...I'm just wondering what adjustments to make so we don't end up with pancakes!
chm November 7, 2010
These were great, I added about a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger as well. Yummy
Halutznik November 2, 2010
Fantabulous! Read the recipe and went right into the kitchen to whip up a batch. Forgot to roll them in sugar but didn't matter. The group of 6 teenage boys that were haunting my kitchen waiting for them to come out of the oven said it was the best cookie they'd ever eaten! I made them bigger than my usual cookie to insure moistness and was careful not to overbake them. All I can say is....yummy.
Jestei November 3, 2010
you are making me crave them myself again.
kcinmn November 2, 2010
I saw this yesterday and HAD to make them - so I did last night! I left out the candied ginger (didn't have any on hand) but they were still wonderful! So good warm out of the oven with a cup of hot tea! And I have a feeling that my co-workers won't mind sampling the other 4 dozen that managed to make it to work today!
Jestei November 2, 2010
i am so glad you liked them! that is a high yield - i am guessing you made them on the smaller side? that must make them good and "snappy!"
kcinmn November 2, 2010
I made a double batch - I can never make just one batch when it comes to cookies! As long as I'm going through the work, I want to make it worth it!
SusanE November 1, 2010
Seriously, how impressed am I that you did a house warming and you baked three (or was it four?) different kinds of cookies for it? Tell me that story!
Jestei November 2, 2010
six doughs but i had my daughter help. we just stood in front of the mixer for a few hrs. then freeze away!!
WinnieAb November 1, 2010
I absolutely love ginger cookies and I'm always on the hunt for the perfect recipe. Lynda's recipes always rock...thanks Jestei for bringing my attention to these!
Jestei November 2, 2010
i know you will love these
drbabs November 1, 2010
I've loved ginger snaps ever since I fell in love with Laurie Colwin, and my daughter and I used to make the ones from "More Home Cooking" when she (my daughter) was little. I'm looking forward to whipping up a batch of these soon!
Jestei November 1, 2010
i hope you enjoy them!
mrslarkin November 1, 2010
Cookies! Me love cookies! I coulda used a few of these ystrdy to keep me warm while freezing my patootee off on Halloween. Making these soon.
Jestei November 1, 2010
i keep reading me love cookies and cracking up. i just am.
mrslarkin November 1, 2010
These are great! The only problem is my oven sucks. Make sure your temp is at 375, or you'll have flat cookies. I rolled my balls in turbinado for a little extra crunch. Really really good. Was lazy and did not add the candied ginger. Next time, I'm going to roll out all the balls before rolling them in the sugar, that way I can be sure to have 24 equal size cookies.
drbabs November 1, 2010
mrslarkin, how can you bake such wonderful scones with an oven that sucks?
mrslarkin November 1, 2010
Makes me crazy, drbabs!! Come January, I might be oven-shopping....and not at Sears.
TasteFood November 1, 2010
Thanks for enjoying this recipe - and reminding me that it's time to bake these again!
JoanG November 1, 2010
Question: is candied ginger the same as crystallized ginger? I had printed out this recipe last week to try becuase it sounds so good.
Jestei November 1, 2010
yes please and give them to me. as to joang yes but you can also skip that ingredient as i did
aargersi November 1, 2010
My absolute favorite cookie. Now I want one.
Lizthechef November 1, 2010
Me too! And somehow, it is the perfect cookie for this time of year...
Jestei November 1, 2010
so make it!! and tell us.
Sagegreen November 1, 2010
True solace! Emily Dickinson would have loved this recipe, too.
Jestei November 1, 2010
do you think? what a nice idea.