These chewy ginger molasses cookies, made with plenty of warm spices plus melted chocolate and cocoa powder, are really something special. They might just be your next “signature” cookie!
What cookies can do is nothing short of amazing. The main cast of characters (butter, sugars, eggs, flour) can be tweaked here and there and go from thin and crispy to thick and chewy just like that.
These chewy chocolate ginger molasses cookies add melted chocolate to the butter, and amp up the sugar situation with granulated and dark brown sugars, along with plenty of molasses. They need just one egg yolk (for texture), and they really (really) pack in the spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, cloves and even freshly grated ginger. Pow!
The result? Rich chocolate, warm spices (and some serious bite from all that ground and fresh ginger), a slightly crispy outside and the chewiest of cookies. Rolling them in sanding sugar before baking adds to that crispy shell, and also keeps the cookies from baking up too dark as well.
You don’t want the dough to be super cold during baking, or the cookies won’t spread enough in the oven. Chill it to allow the flavors to marry, and then shape it with your hands but don’t chill it again. If the cookie dough becomes hard during chilling, just break it up with a fork before pulling off portions and shaping them.
Click play ▶️ to watch this 1 minute video of ginger molasses cookies
Ingredients and Substitutions
As always, unless I specifically state otherwise, I haven’t tried this recipe with any of the following substitutions. They’re just my educated guesses!
Dairy-Free: I’d try Spectrum butter-flavored nonhydrogenated shortening in place of butter in this recipe. Just make sure the semisweet chopped chocolate and chocolate chips you use are dairy-free, too.
Egg-Free: Replacing an egg yolk is always tough, since a “chia egg” won’t do. Maybe try just leaving it out and replacing it with another ounce of chopped chocolate?
Fresh Ginger: These cookies are pretty spicy. If you’d like a bit less of a ginger bite, leave out the grated fresh ginger. By the way, did you know you don’t have to peel fresh ginger before grating it? Just grate on a Microplane, peel and all.
Sanding Sugar: It’s oddly rather difficult to find reliably gluten free sanding sugar. Wilton and India Tree products are not reliably gluten free, and they seem to be the most available. I was able to find Chef’s Select brand on Amazon.com (affiliate link, but shop around!). Of course, you can simply skip this step or just use regular granulated sugar. The sanding sugar is just, well, festive. 🎉
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon (5 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (109 g) packed dark brown sugar
1 egg yolk (25 g), at room temperature
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
White sanding sugar, for rolling (optional)
In a medium-size bowl, place the butter and chopped chocolate and melt in a double boiler or in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring until smooth. Add the molasses and baking soda, and mix to combine. Set the bowl aside.
In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, salt, cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, cloves and freshly grated ginger, and whisk to combine. Add the sugars, and mix to combine, breaking up any lumps in the brown sugar. Create a well in the center, add the melted butter and chocolate mixture and the egg yolk, and mix to combine. The cookie dough will be soft but thick. Add the chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed throughout the dough. Cover the cookie dough and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to a few days.
Before baking, preheat your oven to 375°F. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Break up the dough with the tines of a fork, and gather pieces of dough about the size of a golf ball (about 2 tablespoonful), roll tightly into a ball and press into a 1/2-inch thick disk. Roll on all sides in the optional sanding sugar, pressing to help the sugar adhere. Place on a prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
Place the baking sheets, one at a time, in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the surfaces crack slightly and the cookies are just set in the center (about 10 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
This recipe can be doubled easily, and the cookies can be frozen once baked. If you’d like to freeze the shaped dough, freeze it without the sanding sugar in a single layer on a baking sheet before piling the pieces into a freezer-safe bag. Allow the dough to soften to room temperature before rolling in sanding sugar and baking. Adapted from Martha Stewart.