Molasses Spice Cookies

Source: Cook's Illustrated Healthy Family Cookbook

  • Prep
    5 minutes
  • Total Time
    35 minutes
  • Yields
    Two dozen


"A simple and delicious cookie. Great for the holidays or anytime."


  • 1/2 c. (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 c. (3 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. (1 3/4 ounces) whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 c. light or dark molasses (see note below)
  • 3 tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract


  1. 1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread 5 tablespoons of the granulated sugar in a shallow dish for rolling. Whisk the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl.
  2. 2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, and pepper and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the butter mixture to a large bowl and let cool slightly.
  3. 3. Whisk the remaining 3 tbsp. of granulated sugar, molasses, brown sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla into the melted butter until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until combined.
  4. 4. Working with 1 heaping tbsp. of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls with wet hands, then roll in the sugar to coat. Lay the balls on the prepared baking sheets, spaced about 2 1/2 inches apart.
  5. 5. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until the edges are set and beginning to brown but the centers are still soft, puffy, and underdone, 9 to 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking.
  6. 6. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then serve warm or transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
  7. 7. Variation. Molasses Spice Cookies with Orange Essence. Add 1/2 tsp. grated orange zest to the melted butter and spices

Author's Notes

For a stronger flavor, use dark molasses, but avoid blackstrap molasses, which will taste too bitter here. In order for the cookies to spread and brown properly, it is important to bake them one sheet at a time. A cookie scoop works great with this recipe.