Crisp Molasses Cookies

How to make crisp molasses cookies with a wonderfully crisp edge and PACKED with spice flavor! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Welcome to day 4 in my annual cookie palooza! I’ve been having a ton of fun this week and while I have a difficult time choosing favorites (oh hi, have we met?) I can truthfully say today’s cookies take the gold medal so far.

Molasses cookies are the best variety. I grew up on several things: fish sticks, five alive (does anyone else remember this drink??), cool ranch doritos, and my mom’s gingersnap cookies. While my tastebuds have certainly changed, my immense love for gingersnappy/molasses cookies remains untouched. Same with fish sticks, five alive, and cool ranch doritos. Much love.

How to make crisp molasses cookies with a wonderfully crisp edge and PACKED with spice flavor! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Molasses cookies are an enormous part of my childhood. My mom and I baked her soft gingersnaps together nearly each December. I published her recipe in my book! (Have you tried?) And in the past few years, we’ve gone from soft-baked and butterscotch topped to gingerbread men shapes and caramel drizzled. It seems like we’ve done it all in the molasses cookie world.

But my my my, we are so very mistaken. We’ve never ventured over to the other side. You know, the crunchy side. The under appreciated, mega traditional CRISP molasses cookies. Edges so crunchy they put our cool ranch doritos to shame. They snap when you break them in half, a drastic change from yesterday’s “slow bend” oatmeal cookies.

But they’re not only snappy in texture. They’ve got some SUPER snappy flavor too! (I keep laughing when I type snappy.) Deeply spiced, a big ol’ nod to my dark gingerbread loaf. We’re talking lots of ground cloves and cinnamon, with a dose of ginger and lots of dark molasses. These cookies are exactly what I associate with Christmas and a tall glass of cold milk.

Crisp molasses cookie dough on sallysbakingaddiction.com

What makes them crisp?

A couple things. Today we’ll use all granulated sugar in our cookie dough. Granulated sugar helps encourage spread and also creates a crispier cookie. Think about it– there’s no moisture in granulated sugar. Meaning there’s not much softness, no tenderness, etc. Much unlike brown sugar, which creates our soft-baked cookies! We also bake the cookies for about 13 minutes; adding a couple extra minutes to cookie’s bake time produces a crisper edge.

We’re also adding a liquid– molasses– to the picture. This weighs down the cookie dough so your cookies not only have that beautiful molasses flavor, but also come out a little thinner. Thinner cookies tend to be more crispy.

Also: try rolling them in a coarser sugar. I used half sugar in the raw and half regular granulated sugar for rolling. I liked the larger granules with the more fine granules. The combination made pretty cookies!

Oh! And the cookies get even crispier by the next day, so these are a wonderful make-ahead option for all your holiday baking. YES.

Crisp molasses cookie dough on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Today’s crisp molasses cookies are fun to watch baking and cooling. They puff up in the oven, gently crack at the top, then slightly fall leaving valleys of crinkles. So much character, you snappy brown beauties!

It’s taken me a few years to come around to crisp-edge cookies; soft-baked have been my mainstay. But, actually, I’ve been working on some crisp-edge cookies for my next cookbook because I know so many of you love them. That’s actually what inspired me to test out today’s recipe and I couldn’t be more satisfied. 🙂

How to make crisp molasses cookies with a wonderfully crisp edge and PACKED with spice flavor! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Now let’s slap some vanilla ice cream between two of these and call it a holly jolly day.

Crisp Molasses Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) unsulphured or dark molasses1
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • for rolling: 2/3 cup granulated or coarse sugar2

Directions:

  1. Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and salt together. Set aside.
  2. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and beat the two together until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the molasses, egg, and vanilla and beat on high until completely combined, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. Cover and chill the dough for 1 hour in the refrigerator (and up to 2-3 days). If chilling for longer than a few hours, allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before rolling and baking because the dough will be quite hard and the cookies may not spread.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
  5. Roll balls of dough (about 1 scant Tablespoon of dough per cookie) into the granulated/coarse sugar. Place each ball 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 13 minutes or until cracked on the top.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make ahead tip: Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Allow to come to room temperature then continue with step 4. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Unbaked cookie dough balls (not rolled in sugar) freeze well for up to 3 months. Roll frozen dough balls in the sugar and bake for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Click here for my tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough.

Recipe Notes:

  1. A couple brands I favor: Grandma’s Robust Molasses, Grandma’s Unsulphured Molasses, or Wholesome!’s Organic Molasses (this stuff is potent and delicious! It’s what I used in these pictured cookies.)
  2. I used 1/3 cup of granulated sugar and 1/3 cup of a coarse sugar, like sugar in the raw, for rolling. I liked the larger granules on these cookies! You can roll in ALL granulated sugar or ALL coarse sugar. Whichever you'd like.

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Here are a couple items I used to make today’s recipe.

Kitchenaid Stand Mixer | 5-qt Tilt Head Glass Measuring Bowl | Flex Edge Beater | Melamine Mixing BowlsSilpat Baking Mat | Baking Sheet | Organic Molasses | Raw Sugar

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pays me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

How to make crisp molasses cookies with a wonderfully crisp edge and PACKED with spice flavor! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

50 comments

  1. i love how crunchy things get when there’s sugar baked into the outside! and it’s so interesting that you have molasses and granulated sugar in here, which are essentially the components of brown sugar, but that using them this way makes the cookies so much thinner/crisper.

    • Cookie science. Love it.

    • I was curious about that too! I don’t know how the science works, but I’m curious about why the molasses/white sugar combo worked.

      • It’s interesting, isn’t it? There’s much more molasses in this recipe than the comparable amount in 1 cup of sugar. Also, it’s liquid! So it will produce an entirely different result. Where the molasses in brown sugar is not– it’s all solid sugar.

      • Thanks! 😀 I like baking science, but I’m much better at baking math.

  2. I have all the ingredients so I can’t wait to give these a try, Sally! I love molasses cookies so these are definitely ones I want to try!

  3. Sally how do you hate ranch but enjoy cool ranch Doritos?!! :p.

  4. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever made molasses cookies, but these seem perfect for the Holidays.  And while I’m more of a chewy person usually, but husband really likes cookies crispy cookies.

  5. I love that you made them crispy! They look delicious, I love that sugar glistening on the surface 🙂

  6. What delicious cookies! I’m quite partial to crispy cookies, so I love seeing these on there! And it’s so funny you still love fish sticks! My go to childhood favorite is still freezer-aisle chicken tenders!

  7. LOVE molasses cookies!! I’m more of a soft cookie girl, and I’ve made the soft ones from your blog, (not the book yet) but these look too good to pass up! 🙂

  8. Personally I love crunchy AND soft cookies, no favourites here. The best part of Christmas, for me at least, is dragging out old family recipes and baking it our most popular ones, and a few that haven’t been made in years! The nostalgia surprises everyone and feels so good to create. It’s December 1st today, and my first Christmas party is barely a week away. This is my favourite time of year, and thanks Sally for being a small part of that since I always end up making SO many recipes for Christmas from your site & cookbook 🙂

  9. I LOVE crispy gingersnaps! I never knew how to make them, though. The sugar thing totally makes sense! And Cool Ranch Doritos are the best chips in the world. My daughter wants a whole bag in her stocking for Christmas 🙂

  10. I love anything with ginger and treacle (molasses) in it at this time of year. I live in England and I do remember five alive!
    I’m quite a fan of the crisper biscuit and my partner doesn’t think it should be eaten unless it is! 
    Making your dark gingerbread loaf this weekend, can’t wait to have a slice with warm custard ummm!

  11. Okay so normally I’m like you and prefer cookies to be soft with extra (EXTRA!) chew but I’m such a ginger/molasses cookie fan and a Sally’s baking addiction fan girl (wait, did I just say that?) that I’m going to try these! 

  12. Am I the only one who, after I read the phrase “a tall glass of cold milk” in your post, immediately thought “a warm glass of shut the hell up” (from Happy Gilmore) and started cracking up? What? Just me? Oh… Ah movie quotes! Can’t live without ’em! Amiright? LOL. In other news, my childhood was also filled with Cool Ranch Doritos. My brother and I used to sit on the back porch in the summer and polish off a good portion of the bag whilst pretending we were doing so in our capacity as actors on a Doritos commercial. Ah memories. (Double LOL!)

    My 8 year old loves crispy spiced wafer cookies– I bet she’d enjoy these too. I’ll have to give them a whirl! I’m starting the process of choosing which cookies I’ll be baking for my annual cookie extravaganza. Thanks for providing so many tasty options! MMM!

    • HAHAHA happy gilmore was on the other day. 🙂

      Hey, why don’t I just go eat some hay, make things out of clay, lay by the bay? I just may! What’d ya say?

  13. Five Alive! LOL!! You kill me! Haven’t thought about that in YEARS!

    I like the soft cookies but these pictures sure make crunchy look tempting. I didn’t remember the butterscotch ones…went over to take a look and how evil are those?! Not sure if I dare! Then I get sucked into the comments section which reminds me of all of the other cookies I’ve made from your site…it’s a wicked circle of delicious I am going down… 🙂

  14. How can I make this cookie using a gluten free flour?

  15. You have to turn these into a pie crust!!!

  16. I literally just brought molasses at the supermarket this morning (for the first time) because I had noticed you use it occasionally. Lol, it is not even making it into the cupboard before it’s first usage.

  17. Ahhh Five Alive…I grew up with the same! Thank you for this recipe Sally. So hard to find that great mixture of crispy AND chewy! Adding this one to my ‘must make’ list!

  18. I’ve been wanting to try a flavorful, crisp cookie lately. This seems to fit that description perfectly! Would this cookie work well if it was broken down for a pie crust or cheesecake?

    • I actually haven’t tried it yet, so I’m curious as well. I can’t see why these would be an issue. Leave out on the counter for a day or two so they become even more crisp.

  19. Wow they look so dark and rich and awesome! nice work.

  20. I grew up with cookies like these and bake them often.  For the holidays I dip half the cookie in melted almond bark. Yum!

  21. I luv you for these cookies Sally! so yummy and with a Christmas tree around and listening to X-mas music.

  22. They look delicious! And I loved the photos!

    Katie | katieemmabeauty.com

  23. Hi Sally! I love your entire blog and it is my go-to for anything I’m going to bake. I, too, usually prefer soft and chewy cookies and was wondering if I might be able to make a slightly softer version of these by using a 1/2 c. dark brown and sugar 1/2 c. white sugar? would it make a difference?

  24. I love that coarse sugar for rolling (and extra sparkle!). These look like the best ever molasses cookies!

  25. My husband grew up eating storebought gingersnaps. I made these last night and he said they’re way better than any he’s ever had! Thanks for the recipe!

  26. Hi Sally, these cookies were delicious and so easy to make. They came out crispy and sparkley and were so much better than the store bought ones we grew up on. Everything is so much better homemade! Thanks for another great cookie recipe! Enjoy the holidays!

  27. Sally, I love every cookie I’ve made from your blog. You are awesome!
    But, I always end up with way more cookies than you say I will. I’m using a tablespoon scoop and I’m ending up with at least 4 dozen cookies, not 30 (I’m not saying more of these delicious cookies are a bad thing!). This happens to me with most of your recipes. Am I measuring wrong?

    • I don’t think you are measuring wrong. But that is very odd. I meticulously count every time. Though sometimes my balls of dough can be a generous 1 Tbsp, so perhaps that is the issue. 🙂

  28. I think I loved the recipe the moment I saw them posted here)). I tried them in two versions – covered with sugar and not covered. Both turned out delicious. My kids loved them too. I think they ate 5-6 at once.

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