My Grandma’s Chewy Molasses Sugar Cookies are chewy sugar cookies flavored with molasses, ginger and cinnamon. They have a crunchy outside and soft, chewy inside!
The seventh day of my 12 Days of Christmas Cookies 2014.
These unique spiced cookies are like a cross between Old Fashioned Gingersnaps and Gingerbread Boys. Chewy Molasses Sugar Cookies are incredibly easy and the dough comes together in less than 15 minutes! Roll the dough in sugar before baking to make the outside extra crunchy and add a little sweetness. Like my Chewy Sugar Cookies, you have that perfect crunchy exterior and chewy interior!
This is my Grandmother Ruth Jean’s recipe. You’ll remember her from these tuna melts, these soft sugar cookies, and this raspberry rhubarb crumble. The only change I made to her recipe was substituting half the shortening for butter. This adds so much flavor without changing the texture!
Table of Contents
What makes these molasses cookies chewy?
- Shortening & Butter: Melting the shortening and butter helps create a thick chewy cookie. I use butter for flavor and shortening for the texture.
- Chill the Dough: Chilling the dough before baking will create thicker, chewier cookies.
- Baking: Bake until the edges have begun to brown, the centers are puffed and the outside has begun to crack. The center should look matte rather than shiny.
- Shortening: I use shortening in cookies for an extra chewy texture.
- Butter: I use unsalted butter for baking, because you want to control the amount of salt you are adding. Every brand is different and it makes adjusting the recipe a challenge.
- Granulated Sugar: Granulated sugar is obviously here for sweetness, but if you add too much in proportion to the butter and flour, the molasses sugar cookies will spread rather than stay tall and chewy.
- Molasses: I generally use unsulphered molasses. It has a lighter, milder flavor. This adds all the warm, winter notes without the bite of blackstrap molasses.
- Whole Egg: The eggs are here to add fat, moisture and leavening. The fat from the yolk adds richness and helps keep the cookies chewy. Beating in the eggs just enough will add a little or a lot of leavening depending on the desired texture. Eggs also emulsify the batter and keep everything texturally perfect.
- Baking Soda: Baking soda reacts with an acid to leaven the cookies. It reacts more powerfully than baking powder and will create a more dramatic rise, but will not continue to react in the heat of the oven or without the presence of an acid.
- All-purpose flour: All-purpose flour has just the right amount of gluten to make soft chewy molasses sugar cookies.
- Ground Ginger: Ground Ginger has a subtler flavor than freshly grated ginger root. It has less bite and is more warming.
- Cinnamon: I use Saigon cinnamon but any cinnamon will do.
- Kosher Salt: Kosher salt is lass salty than table salt and a teaspoon weighs less than other finer ground varieties. It heightens the flavor here and will keep your molasses sugar cookies from tasting dull or flat.
Frequently Asked Questions about Molasses Sugar Cookies
I store them in an airtight container at room temperature or frozen. When they are stored in an airtight container, they will lose a bit of the crispness around the edge. You could leave a corner cracked but they will dry out faster.
These chewy molasses sugar cookies will keep up to 10 days at room temperature or several months frozen.
You can freeze the baked cookies for up to 2 months, or freeze the cookie dough balls. Then you can bake them fresh at any time.
Roll the frozen cookie dough balls in granulated sugar right before baking. Bake at 350°F for 10-14 minutes straight from frozen! Bake until the edges have begun to brown, the centers are puffed and the outside has begun to crack. The center should look matte rather than shiny.
These cookies ship wonderfully. Package in a decorative tin or just place in a zip-top bag in a mailer box. They keep for 10 days and they stay chewy for almost as long. The larger the cookie, the longer they stay chewy!
You can make as large a batch of these chewy molasses sugar cookies as you would like. These were in the first Christmas Cookie Tin that my online pastry shop sold back in 2019, so I have made batches of thousands of these cookies. You are only limited by the size of your mixer.
I generally use unsulphered molasses. It has a lighter, milder flavor. This adds all the warm, winter notes without the bite of blackstrap molasses.
Since the butter and shortening were melted, these cookies do need to chill at least 2 hours before baking. Otherwise they will spread too much and they will not be chewy. Chilling the dough before baking will create thicker, chewier cookies.
Chef Lindsey's Recipe Tips
I generally scoop cookie dough prior to chilling it. This ensures the dough will chill faster and means I have warm cookies cooling as fast as possible!
Grandmas Molasses Sugar Cookies
- ¾ cup shortening
- ¾ cup butter
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cup molasses
- 2 eggs
- 4 teaspoons baking soda
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger (slightly rounded)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Additional sugar for rolling
- Melt shortening and butter together in a pan on low heat.
- While the butter and shortening melt, sift together flour, soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt; whisk to evenly distribute spices and soda. Set aside.
- In another large bowl add sugar, molasses and butter/shorting mixture; beat well with a hand mixer. Add eggs and beat well.
- In two additions add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and stir on low speed. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350° and line two baking sheets with parchment.
- Roll into balls approximately 1 ½ inches across, roll in sugar and place 2 inches apart on your prepared cookie sheet.
- Bake in preheated oven 8-10 minutes. For mostly soft, chewy cookies bake until the edges are brown and cracked but the centers are not.* For crispy outsides and soft centers bake at least 10 minutes until the centers have started to crack.
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