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!