Today we’re focusing on yet another cookie recipe that is a Christmas staple when it comes to treats: ginger molasses cookies. Unlike gingerbread cookies that are molded into little gingerbread men, these are shaped into a classic cookie form that yields an unbelievably soft and chewy texture as well as the signature “cracks” on top. Furthermore, the cookies are rolled in crunchy turbinado sugar (or granulated sugar if that’s all you have) before going in the oven, which leaves the cookies with a beautiful, glittery finish. All of this is ideal if you plan on having cookies on display at your holiday party or if you’re gifting cookies to friends and family this year.
The name for these cookies are simply called “molasses cookies” but I upped the ginger component by adding two tablespoons of freshly grated ginger, in addition to a tablespoon of ground ginger. I really wanted to have the ginger stand out in these cookies especially since molasses is such an overpowering flavor, and so I believe the fresh ginger really adds a nice spice-y aspect. Other warm and cozy spices that are popular during this season are added as well: cinnamon, cloves, and a bit of fresh ground black pepper.
Tip: The easiest way to peel a piece of ginger root is with a spoon! I learned this trick recently and wanted to pass on the knowledge.
For this recipe you can use either light, dark or even blackstrap molasses, but any one you choose needs to at least be unsulphured. Blackstrap molasses is usually not suggested for desserts due to its intense and bitter flavor and thick consistency, but if that’s all you have, simply leave the salt out of the dry ingredients and it will work just like the other two. And just so you know, I used blackstrap because that’s all they had at Trader Joe’s and they came out perfectly. So just remember: if you’re using blackstrap molasses, remove the salt; otherwise, keep the salt in!
I splurged on Valrhona white chocolate fèves (aka chocolate discs) from Whole Foods the other week and decided to “fancy” up these cookies by melting the chocolate and drizzling it over the cookies. I LOVE the look of it, and if you’re worried that the white chocolate would make the cookies overly sweet, it really didn’t and actually works really well with the molasses and spices! Furthermore, it makes the cookies look prettier and more Christmas-like with the beautiful white color against the shiny turbinado sugar. It’s an optional step but worth it if you’re planning on gifting these babies or showing them off. If you don’t want to spend $$$ on the Valrhona fèves like I did, simply purchase white chocolate bars, like Ghiradelli.
Soft and Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies
Yields about 28-30 cookies
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 cup molasses (read above for my notes on this)
2 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
Turbinado or granulated sugar, for rolling
Melted white chocolate, either bar or discs, to finish (optional)
Using a hand mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg, molasses, and fresh ginger. Mix until incorporated.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Slowly add this to the wet ingredients while the mixer is on low, and mix until just combined. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, so it’ll be easier to roll the dough.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop out about 1 tbsp. of cookie dough and using your hands, roll into balls. Roll each cookie ball through turbinado or granulated sugar and place them about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden and crackled. If for whatever reason your cookies did not crackle, give the pan a bang on the counter when you take them out of the oven. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Drizzle with melted white chocolate if desired and enjoy!