If soft and tender cookies are your thing, these Chewy Chocolate Molasses Cookies need a spot at your holiday dessert table. Dutch cocoa, molasses, brown sugar, and warm spices make these cookies an instant favorite.
Going into developing this Chewy Chocolate Molasses Cookie recipe, I didn't think any cookie with molasses as the star ingredient could wind up topping my Must-Bake For Christmas list. Don't get me wrong, I knew they'd be good-- but would they hold a candle next to my go-to Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies? My Super Soft Sugar Cookies? My Cafe-Style Peanut Butter Cookies? "Pfft. Unlikely," I thought.
And yet, once again, I've been proven wrong in the most delicious of ways.
WHY I LOVE THIS CHOCOLATE MOLASSES COOKIE RECIPE:
There might be no cookie that has gotten me into the holiday spirit quite as much as these unbelievably soft and chewy Chocolate Molasses Cookies. The chocolate flavor is intense, rich, and leads the way in making these cookies irresistible; while sweet, spiced molasses follows right behind, giving the cookies an almost gingerbread-like backbone. They're warm, punchy, and deliciously complex.
Another thing I love about this recipe is that it produces cookies that are perfectly soft and chewy, and-- on the off chance that you have leftovers (or just are proactive and bake them ahead of time)-- they stay that way for days on end. There's nothing more disappointing than going to eat a cookie you made the day before and realizing it's become hard and crumbly overnight. But the molasses and cornstarch ensure that these cookies stay tender for as long as you manage to resist eating them.
INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED
To make these cookies, you'll need a few key ingredients:
- Butter. Using melted butter in these cookies gives them a softer, more tender texture and helps to incorporate the sugar more evenly into the dough.
- Sugar. Both brown sugar and granulated sugar are used in this recipe. The brown sugar adds moisture and flavor, while the granulated sugar helps to give the cookies a crust that will crinkle when baked.
- Egg. The egg helps to bind the ingredients together and gives the cookies structure.
- Vanilla extract. Vanilla extract, like salt, is a flavor enhancer. A bit goes a long way in bringing out the chocolate and spice in the cookies.
- Molasses. In addition to adding flavor, molasses helps to keep these cookies moist and chewy.
- Flour. All-purpose flour forms the base of these cookies.
- Cocoa powder. Dutch process cocoa powder gives these cookies a rich, deep chocolate flavor.
- Baking soda. Baking soda is necessary to get the cookies to rise (and subsequently fall) for the perfect crackled appearance.
- Cornstarch. A small amount of cornstarch helps to give these cookies a tender texture.
- Spices. A combination of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves gives these cookies a warm and cozy feel.
WHAT IS MOLASSES AND WHY IS IT USED IN COOKIES?
Molasses is a byproduct of the sugar refining process. and is made from boiling down sugar cane juice or sugar beet juice until it thickens and crystallizes. There are several varieties of molasses, but for baking you'll generally want to use dark molasses, which is thick, sweet, spiced, and very slightly bitter. This variety of molasses is a popular ingredient in cookie recipes because it adds a rich, complex flavor that pairs particularly well with chocolate.
Aside from adding depth of flavor, molasses aids in the cookie's texture. Molasses' syrupy quality and sugar content helps to moisten and tenderize baked goods. When combined with baking soda, the acidity of molasses helps to create a chemical reaction that produces carbon dioxide gas, which helps to leaven the cookies and give them a soft and fluffy texture.
Overall, the combination of moisture, lower melting point, and acidity all contribute to the soft and chewy texture of molasses cookies. By using molasses in your cookie recipes, you can achieve a more flavorful cookie that will stay moist and tender for days.
WHY USE CORNSTARCH IN COOKIES?
Cornstarch is a common ingredient in cookies because it helps to give them a tender and soft texture, while also creating a more cohesive, less crumbly dough. It works by absorbing moisture and helping to stabilize the proteins in the dough, which in turn helps to prevent the cookies from spreading too much as they bake.
This can be especially helpful in recipes that call for a lot of butter or other liquid ingredients, as it helps to balance out the moisture content and prevent the cookies from becoming runny and unstable.
In addition to its textural benefits, cornstarch can also help to extend the shelf life of cookies.
Overall, the addition of cornstarch to cookies can help to create a more cohesive and tender dough, as well as extend the shelf life of the finished product.
HOW TO MAKE CHEWY CHOCOLATE MOLASSES COOKIES
- Prepare your oven and baking sheet. Make sure the oven rack is in the center of the oven-- this will give you the optimal amount of heat and browning-- and preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a large cookie sheet with either a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. If you're going to be letting the cookie dough chill for a long period, you can heat the oven closer to when you'll be baking.
- Combine the wet ingredients. To start, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. When well-combined and slightly fluffy, add in the egg, vanilla extract, and molasses and mix again until well-combined.
- Now for the dry ingredients. Make sure you measure your flour and cocoa powder correctly with the spoon and scrape method. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl and add the baking soda, cornstarch, salt, and spices. Stir until combined, being sure not to overmix.
- Chill. Chilling the dough helps the flavors to combine, allows for gluten to form, and prevents the cookies from being overly wet and difficult to roll or spreading too quickly. You want to chill these cookies for at least 20 minutes, or up to overnight.
- Make big cookies. Using a large scoop or ¼ cup measuring cup, scoop the dough and roll into balls. Then, roll into the granulated sugar or sprinkles to coat.
- Give them space. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet. Depending on how large your sheet is, you may be able to fit 6-8 cookies with ample space surrounding them for spread. The cookies will spread significantly so keep them far from each other and from the sides of the sheet, and be prepared to make multiple batches.
- Bake, one batch at a time. Wait until the cookies just begin to crack and set around the edges, about 14-15 minutes, before taking them out of the oven. They should still be puffy and very underbaked in the center. Let them cool fully on the baking sheet. It helps to give the pan a hard tap to aid in deflating the cookies.
Be sure to scroll down for the how-to video and full recipe details in the recipe card!
HOW TO STORE THE COOKIES
These cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. They can also be frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze the cookies, place them in a single layer in a sealable bag or container, and then wrap the bag or container in foil or plastic wrap before sealing. To thaw the cookies, simply place them on the counter at room temperature until fully thawed.
You can also prepare and portion the uncooked dough into balls and then freeze the dough balls for whenever a craving strikes!
WATCH THE HOW-TO VIDEO
- 1 ½ sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter melted and cooled for 5 minutes
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed
- ½ cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup molasses
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup dutch process cocoa powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a large cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. (If you're going to be letting the cookie dough chill for a long period, you can heat the oven closer to when you'll be baking.)
- Cream together the melted and cooled butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. When well-combined and slightly fluffy, add in the egg, vanilla extract, and molasses and mix again until well-combined.
- Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl and add the baking soda, cornstarch, salt, and spices. Stir until combined, being sure not to overmix. Cover and chill the dough until it firms up and becomes easy to roll, at least 20 minutes or up to overnight.
- Using a large scoop or ¼ cup measuring cup, scoop the dough and roll into balls. Then, roll into the granulated sugar or sprinkles to coat.
- Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet, allowing ample space surrounding them for significant spread. You should only try to fit 6 or so cookies on one baking sheet.
- Bake, one batch at a time, until the cookies just begin to crack and set around the edges, about 14-15 minutes, before taking them out of the oven. They should still look puffy and very underbaked in the center. Let them cool completely on the baking sheet. It helps to give the pan a hard tap to aid in deflating the cookies. Repeat for remaining cookie dough.
- Prep Time: 30
- Cook Time: 15