There may be a million ginger molasses cookies on the internet but I hope your quest for the perfect recipe ends with these. I’ve been making a version of these cookies for as long as I can remember but they’ve taken a bit of a journey over the years. The origins begin with my Grandma Jean, who was very much my inspiration for learning how to cook. She had just about every edition of Gourmet Magazine that was ever printed and we would spend hours at her kitchen table (which was really just a picnic table) pouring over each issue; the holiday covers were always our favorites.
She made THE best ginger molasses cookies. They had a bit of snap with perfectly chewy centers bursting with the flavor and aroma of pungent ginger and cinnamon. My favorite part was rolling the dough balls in sugar so they would come out of the oven all dolled up. While I’m choosing to share these during the holidays, these are an all year round recipe in my book, perfect for any occasion. That said, the lovely holiday spices definitely make the house smell like Christmas! When my oldest son smells them baking her refers to them simply as ‘The Sugar Ones’ and that feels pretty perfect to me.
Now someone much wiser than me once said “Don’t mess with a good thing”, but I’ve changed these just a little over the years. First off, my Grandmother always used Crisco and no shade to the shortening game, but I prefer baking with butter, especially one that will add really nice flavor to the dough. Also, I added a little bit of cocoa powder to add depth of flavor and amplify the flavor of the spices. This is a tip I learned from another favorite baker of mine, Kristie of The Sweet and Simple Kitchen. Lastly, I love the bite of fresh ginger so I mixed some with the granulated sugar to give these a kiss of sweet heat. This is the kind of cookie dough that we always have on hand, you know, for emergencies. You can scoop the dough balls in advance and freeze them in a single layer on a sheet tray. Once they are firm, pack them in a freezer safe container or storage bag and freeze until you are ready to bake. Let them thaw for about 30 minutes, then roll in sugar and bake per the recipe below.
I hope you make a batch (or two!) of these cookies this holiday season and share them with someone you love.
Ginger Molasses Cookies
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (340 grams)
- 2 tablespoons dutch-process cocoa powder (14 grams)
- 2 teaspoons ginger powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar, (100 grams) plus more for rolling
- 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (about 32 grams, 2 teaspoons grated)
- 1 cup packed brown sugar (200 grams)
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup molasses (75 grams)
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
In a large bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder, ginger powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg together. Whisk to combine, then set aside.
Add 1/2 cup sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add grated ginger and use fingers to rub the ginger into the sugar until well combined. Add brown sugar and butter to the bowl and cream at medium speed for 4 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add molasses, egg and vanilla. Mix at medium low speed for 1-2 minutes, then scrape down the sides of the bowl again and add the flour mixture. Mix at low speed just until no streaks of flour remain.
Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and fold the dough together by hand with a spatula to ensure everything is well mixed, then place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
While the dough chills, preheat the oven to 350˚F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Once dough is slightly firm to the touch after 30 minutes in the fridge, scoop using a large cookie scoop, then roll into a neat ball and coat evenly in sugar. Repeat with all of the dough and bake cookies in batches of 5 dough balls to each prepared pan for 12-13 minutes, flipping the pans and rotating them back to front halfway through baking time.
Let cool on the pan for 1-2 minutes before placing on a cooling rack.
I’ve had the bourbon shortbread cookies and they taste like a true “Old Fashion”.
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