These healthier soft ginger molasses cookies are ever so slightly crispy around the edges, with chewy, soft centers! Simple spices like ginger, cinnamon, and molasses give these cookies a classic flavor, while wholesome ingredients like white whole wheat flour & coconut sugar make them a healthier treat.
These healthier soft ginger molasses cookies are a must-try this holiday season! Their slightly crispy edges and soft-baked, chewy centers, PLUS the gingery molasses flavors and OMG coarse sugar on the outside?? Basically, we die and go cookie heaven with every bite.
And you can tell me if this is an unpopular opinion... but ginger molasses cookies eaten while still warm from the oven?! We tried it this year, and life-changing would be one way to describe it. With these ginger molasses cookies, you'll feel like you're indulging... but as always, we're keeping it whole foods based for more nutritious holiday treats!
I don't have a ton of cookie recipes published yet (just these flourless almond butter cookies)... so let's just say I'm pretty darn excited to share these with you today. And yes, you know I said that with a mouthful of cookie.
Look, I'm not about to tell you that these cookies are so healthy they could replace your vegetables and fruits, BUT. If we could make cookies taste just as good with unrefined flours and sugars, why wouldn't we?! Below are the ingredients we'll use to do just that.
- White whole wheat or spelt flour - Both will work! This surprised me at first, but I'm glad to know that spelt flour works really well as a healthier flour swap for all-purpose flour in cookies.
- Baking soda - For leavening.
- Ground ginger - I prefer ground ginger to fresh in these cookies!
- Ground cinnamon - Keeping it simple with the spices! Other than ground ginger, just a bit of cinnamon.
- Salt - To balance out the sweetness, making the flavor POP.
- Butter - A cookie essential <3
- Brown sugar - Light or dark. I LOVE the unrefined brown sugar options available from Wholesome! This is not a paid endorsement by any means. I just love their products because they allow me to bake -- and more importantly, enjoy desserts -- knowing my ingredients and real, ethically sourced, and unrefined. You either purchase the Billington's dark brown molasses sugar or the Wholesome! brand light brown sugar or dark brown sugar.
- Coconut sugar - Instead of granulated sugar, this sugar provides a nice, toasty, caramelized flavor.
- Egg - Richness, moisture, and binding all our ingredients together.
- Vanilla extract - Provides the best cookie flavor.
- Coarse sugar - Many ginger molasses cookie recipes are rolled in sugar, which is delicious if that's what you have. But coarse sugar (I use the raw turbinado sugar from Whole Foods) provides an unbeatable sweet crunch... the perfect complement to a chewy cookie!
To make these healthier soft ginger molasses cookies, complete the easy steps set forth and pictured below.
First you'll whisk together the dry ingredients in one bowl. Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer & separate mixing bowl, you'll cream together the butter, brown sugar, and coconut sugar on a medium speed until combined (about two minutes). Then, add in the molasses, egg, and vanilla extract, and beat on high until incorporated (should take around 30 seconds).
Next, add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined. Use a spatula as necessary to push the dough down the sides of the bowl. This will be a thick dough!
After you've made the dough, chill it in the fridge for at least an hour and up to three days.
Once the dough has chilled, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Then, roll the cookie dough into balls using two tablespoons of cookie dough at a time. Roll each ball in the coarse turbinado sugar before placing on the prepared baking sheets, about three inches apart.
Then, bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 11-12 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and allow them to cool for five minutes on the baking sheets. They will look very puffy and soft when you take them out of the oven, but trust -- the next five minutes on the hot pan will solidify them into dense, chewy, delicious cookies!
After five minutes of allowing them to cool on the pan, eat one! They are SO GOOD when warm. As for the rest, transfer them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
Hint: Allowing the cookie dough to chill for a full day before baking the cookies will yield an incredible flavor! I learned this from putting into practice some of the Serious Eats Food Lab's chocolate chip cookie recipe tips, and after many times over, could not agree more. Essentially, when the dough is allowed to rest for longer (like overnight), the protein and starches have a chance to break down, yielding even more flavorful cookies.
Substitutions & Variations
Try the following substitutions and variations to fit different diets or flavors!
- Brown sugar - If you don't want to use any brown sugar, you can use coconut sugar in its place. This would end up being ¾ cup total coconut sugar for the recipe instead of ½ cup of brown sugar and ¼ cup coconut sugar.
- Lower sugar - You can also get by with only ½ cup of brown sugar in this recipe, and they are still very good. My favorite batches were with the extra bit of coconut sugar, so I typically keep the sugar amount as listed below in the recipe.
- White chocolate - Fold in 1 cup of white chocolate chips into the batter before chilling, OR make a white chocolate coating! Melt 1 cup white chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon coconut oil and whisk it together until smooth. Drizzle it over these cookies or dip part of each cookie into the coating. Then, place on parchment paper until the coating is set.
- Flour - I've tried these cookies with spelt flour and whole wheat pastry flour as well, and the results are just as good as with white whole wheat flour!
Storage Instructions: To store, place the fully cooled cookies in an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to a week.
Freezing Instructions: To freeze, place the fully cooled cookies in an airtight container or reusable freezer-friendly bag, and freeze for up to three months.
Ginger Molasses Cookies FAQs
These cookies will stay soft if stored in an airtight container at room temp! Expose them to air for a long period of time, and they will become crispy.
A few tips to avoid flat cookies. First, chill the dough for at least an hour (very important)! Second, when you roll the cookies, roll them into taller balls instead of perfectly round ones. And third, make sure the dough hasn't gotten too warm when you put the cookies in the oven. If you think the dough has gotten too warm, you can roll the dough balls, and then place the cookies in the freezer for 5-10 minutes right before baking.
Cookies are chewy when moisture content is present, dough is chilled, and cookies are not over-baked. For these ginger molasses cookies, the brown sugar, molasses, and egg help create chewy cookies. Also, we chill the dough so the cookies stay thick. Finally, we slightly under-bake the cookies and allow them to finish cooking on the baking sheet, resulting in soft-textured cookies.
Healthier Soft Ginger Molasses Cookies
These healthier soft ginger molasses cookies have incredible flavor and the chewiest, soft texture! Each cookie dough ball is rolled in a little bit of coarse sugar for sparkle and crunch. Make sure to eat at least one while it's still warm!
- Prep Time: 80 min
- Cook Time: 12 min
- Total Time: 1 hour 32 minutes
- Yield: ~24 medium-sized cookies
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
- 2 ¼ cups white whole wheat flour (or spelt flour)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup butter (1 ½ sticks), room temperature
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- ¼ cup molasses (unsulphured)
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- coarse sugar, for rolling
- Mix dry ingredients. In a bowl, whisk together white whole wheat flour, baking soda, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, and salt.
- Mix wet ingredients. With a hand mixer & separate bowl or a stand mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar, and coconut sugar together at a medium speed until smooth (about two minutes). Add the egg and vanilla, and beat on high to combine (about 30 seconds). Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula as necessary.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Pour the dry ingredients mixture into the bowl of wet ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined. This will be a thick dough!
- Chill the dough. Cover and chill the dough in an airtight container for at least 1 hour, and up to 3 days. The flavor really intensifies when chilled for a least a day, so it's worth the wait if you prepare in advance! Otherwise, 1 hour is the minimum required.
- Preheat & prep. When you're ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line two baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Roll & sugar cookie dough balls. Roll the cookie dough into balls, 2 tablespoons each. Roll each ball in coarse sugar and place on the cookie sheets about 3 inches apart (I usually do about 12 per sheet).
- Bake. Bake for 11-12 minutes. Then, remove from the oven (cookies will look VERY soft, but they will harden up as they finish cooling) and allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Dough: If you chill the dough for longer than 1 hour, you may need to let it sit out on the counter for up to 30 minutes if the dough is hard and difficult to roll.
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