I’ve never been much of a cookie-maker, but one year the kids requested gingerbread cookies. They’d been visiting friends and making gingerbread houses. The result was these chewy molasses cookies that have all the flavors of gingerbread!
When I first tried my hand at making these cookies, I liked the idea of including dates as a sweetener. I was pregnant at the time and since dates help shorten labor, date-sweetened molasses cookies sounded pretty good. I also love that they’re grain-free and high in protein.
Nutrient-Dense Ingredients for Healthy Molasses Cookies
Most traditional ginger molasses cookies have ingredients like granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, and brown sugar. White sugar-filled holiday cookies aren’t on my list of favorite cookie recipes!
After several failed attempts, I’m happy with these fragrant, yummy cookies. They’re free of refined sweeteners and packed with nutrient-dense ingredients. Not only do they taste delicious, but I don’t mind letting the kids have them (or eating them myself).
The best molasses cookies start with great ingredients:
- Molasses: A great natural source of iron, B vitamins, magnesium, and copper. It’s great for improving digestion, reversing gray hair, and helping anemia (among other things). While blackstrap molasses is the healthiest, I like using unsulphured molasses in recipes since it doesn’t have a bitter taste. It gives the cookies a rich, molasses flavor.
- Dates: A fruit that’s often eaten alone or used as a natural sweetener. They’re said to be anti-inflammatory. Dates are also suggested for heart health, healthy blood pressure, and brain health. When I found a study about how consuming dates regularly could shorten labor, I decided to give them a try.
- Almond Flour: High in protein, filling, and nourishing.
- Cinnamon: A little spice with a lot of benefits! Cinnamon has immune-boosting and infection-fighting properties. It’s also often used to help regulate blood sugar. And it tastes delicious!
- Ginger: So many great health effects, including easing nausea and calming coughing. Read more about it here. And check out this post for some great info on storing fresh ginger. I prefer fresh, but you can use 1 teaspoon of ground ginger if that’s what you have.
Of course, no cookie is great for daily consumption. Although between the healthy ingredients and minimal sweeteners, I’d say these are as close as they come.
Tips For Making Soft Molasses Cookies
Gingerbread or molasses cookies are classic Christmas cookies. The scent evokes memories of childhood gingerbread house making at grandma’s and tree decorating.
In general, making cookies is pretty straightforward. You mix together the dry ingredients, mix together the wet ingredients, then mix the two together. I follow the same pattern with these cookies, except I use a blender for the wet ingredients. It’s the easiest way to get a smooth consistency with the dates.
I usually chill to dough for at least 15 minutes to let it firm up a bit before rolling it into balls. If you don’t you’ll have a sticky mess on your hands… literally.
The final two steps are optional. The first is the sugar. I like to roll my cookie dough balls in organic coconut sugar. It looks beautiful and gives the cookies a nice crunchy crust on the outside.
The second is the pressing. These cookies don’t flatten out on their own while they’re cooking or have a crinkle on top. You can either smash them gently with the bottom of a glass before baking or make a criss-cross pattern with a fork halfway through baking. Or make life simpler and just leave them in balls!
These cookies are stickier than regular gingerbread cookies. They’re not ideal for use with cookie cutters or to make gingerbread houses. Unlike baked goods made with regular flour, these don’t have gluten to help hold them together. They’re still just as delicious though!
Or Use It as a Crust!
It didn’t take me long to discover this recipe also makes an incredible grain-free crust for a pumpkin pie or gingerbread cheesecake! It’s a healthier option than the typical crushed gingersnaps crust.
We had a great time making these for Christmas and I hope you will too. They aren’t overly sweet. But if you aren’t used to a lot of processed desserts, they have the perfect balance of sweetness and spice.
Molasses Cookies Recipe
- 3½ cups almond flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 TBSP fresh ginger (grated, or 1 tsp powdered ginger)
- 4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup butter (or coconut oil, melted)
- 12 pitted dates
- ¼ cup almond milk (or coconut milk)
- ⅓ cup organic blackstrap molasses (or unsulphured molasses)
- ¼ cup coconut sugar (optional)
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl or stand mixer, mix together the almond flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt, and coconut flour.
- In a blender blend the eggs, melted butter or coconut oil, dates, almond or coconut milk, and molasses.
- Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a hand mixer or stand mixer. The dough should be thick enough to form balls, but not quite as thick as playdough.
- Refrigerate dough for at least 15 minutes to let harden slightly. This will make it easier to form for baking.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Carefully roll the dough into 1 inch balls. A cookie scoop can help with portioning.
- If using sugar, roll the dough in a light coating of sugar for texture and to help prevent sticking.
- Place dough on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Flatten the cookies with the bottom of a glass or measuring cup if desired.
- Bake cookies for 15 minutes. Halfway through baking, remove from oven and make marks with a fork, if desired. (if you didn't already flatten them before baking). This step is completely optional but creates the look of traditional molasses cookies.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before carefully removing from baking sheet onto a cooling rack or wire rack.
- Enjoy! Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Different brands of almond and coconut flour work differently in recipes. There are even differences between the kinds of dates and molasses in baking. You may have to adjust ingredients up or down slightly to get the correct consistency.
- When the cookies are done baking they should still be semi-soft to the touch, but start to get crispy around the edges.
Were gingerbread or molasses cookies a part of your childhood? Share below!
Discussion (38 Comments)
I can’t wait to try this recipe – it sounds like the perfect combination for my taste buds! Speaking of my taste buds, I was wondering if you have any ‘jam’ recipes. I love jam but am still trying to find some good low or no sugar recipes to try.
If you’re into jam, what I usually do is to cut up about 4 cups of a juicy fruit (plums, in my case) and then I put them in a saucepan and cook them over high heat until they release their natural juices and then thicken into jam. I usually add about two teaspoons of cinnamon and nutmeg to taste, and about 1/2 tsp. lemon or orange zest, but unless you really love super-sweet jams, you can forego added sugar, and the natural sweetness of the plums will take are of the rest. It’ll take about 15-20 minutes for it to thicken. Stir constantly. When the jam is a dark purple color and has thickened enough that you can run a spoon through it and there be a delay before the jam fills in the gap, then you can do the “plate test” to check for the set. (Freeze a ceramic plate and drop a spoonful of your jam onto it; if the jam doesn’t drip when you tilt the plate, then it’s set.)
This makes about 1 1/2 pints of jam or so, and if you can it right, it’ll last a couple months in the refrigerator before you open it. After you open it, it’ll last probably 2 weeks.
Looking forward to try this, as it seems delicious and highly nutritious. I discovered your blog when I was packing my hospital bag with baby number 4. That was after a very long labor and difficult home birth with baby number 3. I’ve learned sooooo much from you over the years -thanks! I know you’re a doula, just wondering, do u drink raspberry leaf tea? Cuz I only started at week 37 with baby #5, and he was born so quickly in the jacuzzi. And except for my second child, this is the only one where I had good strong labor and didn’t need pitocin. Less than 3 hours from when I arrived at the hospital to having him in my arms. I credit the red raspberry… Good luck. Hope you’ll have this one quickly and easily, you totally deserve to:)))
Best choice substitute for a coconut flour substitute? Even a tablespoon sets off the SIBO.
You can omit and add more almond flour, it just may change the texture some. Arrowroot would also be an option.
Recipe looks great! Do you know anything about health properties of sorghum molasses? I am wondering about subbing for the blackstrap.Thanks!
You can substitute straight across sorghum for molasses and vice versa. It is a little different profile nutrition wise, but still VERY healthy and full of minerals. And MUCH milder flavor than black strap molasses.
My son is also allergic to nuts. Do you have any ideas on any other flour?
Hey Katie! Love this recipe!! I’ve been trying to use more molasses lately. I’m a runner and I have a bit of an iron problem, so this recipe is perfect! Thanks for sharing!
this receipe sounds real delicious and I am gonna try it ! Yumminess !
Can one add a bit of ground ginger to this?
Thanks a lot !!
Merry Christmas and happy holidays !!
Give it a try 😉 Merry Christmas!
My son is allergic to nuts. He can eat coconut flour, could I sub cassava flour? Thanks!
I haven’t tried it, but it might. You’ll need to play with the texture while mixing though…
I don’t see any ginger in the ingredients. Did you use fresh, or dry in these gingerbread cookies? If so, how much?
You can use a Tablespoon of grated fresh ginger, or a teaspoon of dried…
Oh Thank You 🙂 The Kiddos and I are trying to do find Christmas Cookie recipes that are Awesome & GF & Healthy. I have all the ingredients & we’ll making these tomorrow. Merry Christmas to You & Your Family 🙂