These Chewy Iced Molasses Cookies have a fabulous soft and chewy texture and are filled with the classic holiday flavors of molasses, cinnamon, and ginger. Easy, festive, and delicious!
These cookies are filled with nostalgia for me. The flavor reminds me so much of the gingerbread boys my mom baked each and every Christmas season. I loved those boys! I have vivid memories of walking home from school on a cold December day to my very warm and cozy house, all lit up with Christmas lights (Mom loved those lights!), and the smell of molasses and cinnamon greeting me as soon as I opened the door.
The fabulous thing about this recipe is that you get all that nostalgic flavor with far less work. Unlike Mom’s gingerbread boys, there is no rolling or cutting of the dough involved for these chewy molasses cookies. No intense decorating either. After they cool, they’re topped with a simple but perfectly delicious powdered sugar icing and you’ve got one incredibly delicious batch of cookies on your hands.
I can pretty much guarantee they will disappear in nothing flat.
If you are a fan of the flavors of gingerbread and warm spices, you are going to love these cookies! I hope you’ll give them a try and that they warm your heart as much as they warm mine.
Table of contents
- Dry ingredients: All-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Spices: Ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves.
- Wet ingredients: Softened butter, light brown sugar, and a large egg.
- Molasses: Unsulphured mild-flavor molasses like Grandma’s Original.
- Icing: Powdered sugar, pure vanilla extract, and milk. I use whatever type of milk I have on hand, usually 2% or whole milk.
How to Make Chewy Iced Molasses Cookies
- Dry ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
- Wet ingredients: In a large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until creamy. Beat in the molasses, then the egg.
- Combine: Gradually beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture, just until combined.
- Chill: Cover and refrigerate the dough about 1 hour or until it’s easy to handle.
- Shape the dough: Roll the cookie dough into small 1-inch balls and place them about 2-inches inches apart on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
- Flatten slightly: Flatten the balls slightly with the palm of your hand or the bottom of a clean glass.
- Bake: Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until edges of cookies are set. Cool on cookie sheets for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before icing.
- Make the icing: Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon milk to a small bowl and stir until combined. Stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the icing reaches spreading consistency.
- Ice the cookies: Spoon some of the icing on top of each cookie and spread out with the back of a spoon. Allow the icing to set before storing the cookies.
Tips for the Best Chewy Iced Molasses Cookies
Chill the dough: Refrigerating the dough for an hour or so makes it much easier to handle. Otherwise, it will be quite sticky and difficult to work with and the cookies may spread more than you’d like when you bake them.
Control the size and thickness: Use a small cookie scoop to ensure even size cookies. These cookies will spread a bit but flattening the balls of dough before baking will ensure they are not too thick. You can flatten them as much as you’d like for the desired thickness.
Don’t overbake: The key to soft and chewy molasses cookies is to be sure you do not overbake them. Be vigilant and watch them closely towards the end of the baking time.
Icing consistency: Only add as much milk as needed for the icing to pour off the tip of a spoon and be easy to swirl around the top of the cookie. You don’t want it so thin that it loses it’s circular shape and rolls off the edges of the cookie.
It’s important to allow iced cookies to rest at room temperature for at least an hour or more for the icing to set up before storing them. Then, store them in an airtight container with a piece of parchment paper or wax paper separating the layers. Store at room temperature for 4 days or refrigerate for up to a week.
For longer storage, the baked cookies can be frozen before they are iced. Flash freeze them on a baking sheet for about an hour, or until frozen solid. Then, transfer them to a freezer-safe plastic storage bag, press out as much air as possible, and freeze for up to 2 to 3 months. Thaw the cookies completely before icing as directed in the recipe.
Chewy Iced Molasses Cookies
For the Cookies
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¾ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- ⅓ cup unsulphured mild-flavor molasses
- 1 egg
For the Icing
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 2 ½ to 3 tablespoons milk, as needed
For the Cookies
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed for about 1 minute, or until thoroughly combined and creamy. Add the molasses. Beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg.
- Gradually beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture, a little at a time, just until combined. Cover and chill the dough for about 1 hour or until easy to handle.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Using a small cookie scoop, scoop the dough, then roll into 1-inch balls and place them about 2-inches inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Flatten the balls slightly with the palm of your hand or the bottom of a clean glass.
- Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until edges of the cookies are set, being careful not to overbake. Cool on cookie sheets for 10 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool completely before icing.
For the Icing
- Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon milk to a small bowl and stir until combined. Stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the icing reaches spreading consistency. Only add as much milk as needed for the icing to pour off the tip of a spoon and be easy to swirl around the top of the cookie. You don't want it so thin that it loses it's circular shape and rolls off the edges of the cookie.
- Once cooled, spoon some of the icing on top of each cookie and spread out with the back of a spoon. Allow the icing to set for at least an hour before storing.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens
This post was originally published on December 16, 2016. It has been updated with new text and images.