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Molasses Cookies – Soft & Chewy

Molasses Cookies – Soft & Chewy

File these under “N” for nostalgia. When we made gluten-free Iced Oatmeal Cookies, we waxed nostalgic about Archway cookies. Those white, plastic-covered packages, 4 or 5 stacks of perfectly round, perfectly soft cookies. A wee bit darker on the outside, soft and pale on the inside, with just the right amount of spice to make ’em taste just like Fall feels.

My gluten-free son? He has been gluten-free since he was 10 months old. He’s now 8. Ask me if he’s ever even heard of Archway cookies, and I’ll tell you not a chance. But I know. And I remember.

I can’t tease out how much of the magic of these nostalgic recipes is for me, and how much is for him. But when I make it for him (and for my girls), and when you tell me that you made it for your gluten-free kiddo … I melt.

I can’t get enough of these sort of remember-when recipes, like gluten-free Pop Tarts and gluten-free Ritz crackers. What can I say? I’m a romantic, it seems.

If you tell anyone, though, I’ll totally deny it. And I’ll know it was you who blabbed. So mum’s the word, sister.

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 24 cookies


1 1/2 cups (210 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup (150 g) sugar

4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 tablespoons (80 g) unsulphured molasses

2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten


  • Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set them aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, ground cloves, ground ginger, ground allspice, ground cinnamon and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the butter, molasses and eggs, mixing to combine after each addition. The dough will come together and be thick but soft.

  • Divide the dough into 24 parts with a spoon or small ice cream scoop. With very, very wet hands, roll each portion of dough into a ball, and place on the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. If you find that the dough is too difficult to roll into a ball, all that may be affected is the shape of your cookies, but not the taste or quality. With wet fingers, flatten the balls (or mounds) of dough into disks about 1/4 inch thick.

  • Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake, rotating once during baking, until golden brown around the edges, light brown on top and mostly firm on the top to the touch. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet before serving. They will be fragile when warm, but will become entirely firm once cool.


Comments are closed.

  • Pamela G
    September 24, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    Nicole….you are my hero….Molly the GF dog LOVES these.  She started by coming in the house, nose in the air.  The cookies were cooling on a rack on the table.  She proceeded to go to the table (which is nose high for her) and sniff. She immediately sat down, looked at me, looked at the cookies…looked at me again and grumbled a little like “Mom? Can I has one?” :)  Scott had a handful and a huge glass of milk later on and said they’re perfect..thanks!!!

    • gfshoestring
      September 25, 2012 at 1:54 PM

      Pam, that is the most pampered gluten-free dog in history. If she tells my 2 dogs how well she is treated, they’ll revolt!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Jenn
    September 20, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    I was in a meeting yesterday when I saw the e-mail with these cookies and I actually said “Swet!” outloud…not ver y professional…but oh well :)  I made the cookies last night, and although the texture was not right to make into a ball ( I spooned the batter onto the cookie sheet and made the circle shape with the back of the spoon) the cookies cmae out amazing and the perfect texture.  I think I only have 3 cookies left!
    Thanks again for an amazing recipe.
    Keep Smilin

    • gfshoestring
      September 20, 2012 at 2:08 PM

      Sounds professional to me, Jenn! Then again, my profession is cookies. ;)
      Since you are the second person to say she has had trouble rolling the dough into balls, I modified the recipe a bit to indicate that it is best to roll the portioned dough with very, very hands, and that if you are unable to roll it, it will only affect the shape of the cookie, but not the quality in any other way. And a small ice cream scoop can help make rounds, too. Glad you enjoyed them!
      xoxo Nicole

  • September 19, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    Oh, this looks nice and easy! I’m all over it. Thanks for all the fun nostalgia recipes.

    In other news, my girl’s been in school just over a week and already 2 in class birthday parties. I made your awesome yellow cupcakes (first cookbook) yesterday thinking I could freeze the rest… There is only one left :) I gave one to her teacher because I wanted her to taste how great homemade GF can be.

    • gfshoestring
      September 19, 2012 at 8:16 PM

      Love it, Dana! Oh, we’ve had a million birthdays already, too. I can’t say I exactly look forward to those in-class birthdays. :/ Well done, spreading the good-not-just-good-for-GF message to her teacher!
      xoxo Nicole

    • Jenn
      September 20, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      I did the same thing with my son and it has been a lifesaver, espically since I tend to not find out about the party until the night before.

    • September 20, 2012 at 7:37 PM

      Hi Jenn, last minute notice can be hard! I’m working on getting a class birthday list so I can have more time to prepare. My daughter really wants to have the same looking cupcake as her pals, so in a perfect world I’d have choc and vanilla reserves in my freezer. But my husband often sneaks them for dessert!

  • Michelle
    September 19, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    I am making these as we speak and the mixture is more like a batter versus a dough.  There is no way it can be “rolled’ as your recipe calls for.  Its also not even close to the same color.  I’m just going to use a cookie scoop and see what happens since the mixture is kind of loose.

    • gfshoestring
      September 19, 2012 at 8:14 PM

      Hi, Michelle, I can see that you are frustrated that the recipe is not turning out as you had hoped. It is a very soft dough, but it is a tested recipe and works when made precisely as written. I would suggest measuring your ingredients by weight instead of by volume for greater precision.

    • Michelle
      September 19, 2012 at 9:34 PM

       The taste is ok but they just ran together.  I did weight my ingredients and I’m sorry to say this isn’t the first time I’ve had an inconsistent result with your recipe.  Guess its just not for me.

    • gfshoestring
      September 20, 2012 at 7:54 AM

      Michelle – let’s go over how you prepared the recipe because if you used the ingredients listed in the recipe the dough would be sticky, but would roll, especially with wet hands. It is very frustrating when a recipe doesn’t work, but please know they are not published unless they are tested. Tested means that the recipe can be repeated successfully if the exact same ingredients listed in the recipe are used and the instructions are followed exactly as written. If other ingredients are substituted and recipe instructions are changed then it really is an entirely different recipe altogether and may not work at all. For example, when cookies run together it is often due to the substitution of nondairy butter, which has significantly more moisture than butter. Let me know if I can help at all. Nicole

    • MaryCatherine
      September 23, 2012 at 2:41 PM

      Maybe you’re using a really tricky flour blend Michelle? I can never get my hands on Better Batter, and I’m allergic to several things common in flour blends (chickpea/garbanzo beans, soy flour), so I’m really limited. I’ve had great luck with Bob’s Red Mill, but everything goes to hell when I try King Arthur GF flour or anything else. Small changes can make a huge difference! I’ve had more consistent results with your recipes Nicole than with ANY other cookbooks, websites, etc. so stick with it Michelle, the results are really worth it!

    • gfshoestring
      September 24, 2012 at 8:29 AM

      Thank you so much for weighing in, MaryCatherine! I’m so glad you have been able to find what works for you. So much of it is, as you say, about the flour. :)
      xoxo Nicole

    • Michelle
      September 20, 2012 at 1:34 AM

       The taste is ok but they just ran together.  I did weight my ingredients and I’m sorry to say this isn’t the first time I’ve had an inconsistent result with your recipe.  Guess its just not for me.

    • Pamela G
      September 26, 2012 at 12:18 PM

      I used a cookie scoop….and then flattened the ‘balls’ with the wet bottom of metal measuring cup – dipped between every cookie -time saver. They weren’t as perfect as Nicole’s..but they are YUMMO….MY dough didn’t seem roll-able at all either. I’ve made them twice, and both batches came out a much thicker cake batter consistancy.

  • Heather :) :) :)
    September 19, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    These remind me a bit of the oatmeal molasses cookies that my grandmother would make. We’d have them every afternoon with some nice chamomile tea ;) :) Thanks for the recipe. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of CAlifornia, Heather ;)

  • Rebecca Blackman
    September 19, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Uh oh…I already spilled the beans.  I sometimes go on for days on how much work you put into recipes so the rest of us can munch our way into culinary heaven. Neither my extended family nor my co-workers avoid the goodies I bring to share since they cannot tell the difference.  Everyone loves them!  And  now  next week they will be Molasses Cookies!

    • gfshoestring
      September 19, 2012 at 8:17 PM

      Oh that is so kind, Rebecca, that not only do I not mind but I’m terribly flattered. :) Thank you for your kind support!
      xoxo Nicole

  • kclark
    September 19, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    I won’t spill the beans that you are a romantic but I am in love! You have been on a serious nostalgic roll lately and I am so happy!  I am making the Chocolate Pop Tarts this weekend.  You know who will be so happy.  And these cookies? Come on!!! I couldn’t be happier.  

    • gfshoestring
      September 19, 2012 at 8:18 PM

      I think there’s something about back-to-school, not to mention the start of crisper Fall weather, that sends me back! Oh, I know who alright … ;)
      xoxo Nikki

  • Pamela G
    September 19, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    Nicole…think you nailed this one. My grams recipe didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to, but didn’t have the patience to fuss with it. You have…. thank you!!! :)

    • gfshoestring
      September 19, 2012 at 8:21 PM

      Fussing with it is all I do, Pam. Leave it to me! ;)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Linda Stoddard
    September 19, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    o-boy-o-boy! Love those molasses cookies–I’m guessing hubby is happy with these–if I recall correctly one of your posts (gingerbread?) prompted his first comment ever–or something silly like that. Anyway, with Autumn heading in and cooler temps, this is the perfect time to make these! Thanks, Nicole xoxLinda

    • gfshoestring
      September 19, 2012 at 8:20 PM

      I think you’re right, Linda! Great memory. :)
      I’m all over those cooler temps. Oh how I love baking season!
      xoxo N

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