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Old-Fashioned Iced Molasses Cookies

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Thick chewy Iced Molasses Cookies are going to be your new favorite cookies! Just like grandma used to make, these cookies are PURE comfort food. And these chewy molasses cookies are perfect for the holiday season!

Cooling rack with iced molasses cookies on it.

Chewy old-fashioned cookies are baked up full of warm spices and mellow molasses for a perfectly soft cookie. Then they’re topped with an easy sweet vanilla icing to take these Soft Molasses Cookies right over the top!

Stacked molasses cookies one with a bite taken out of it.

This simple recipe makes the perfect holiday cookie to make with kids. Little hands can roll dough balls into small balls for baking. You can put the trays in and out of the oven. And again little hands can help ice the cookies as well. They could even add sprinkles if need be!

Our Favorite Christmas Cookies!

We’ve got a lot of favorite Christmas cookies around here. Our family’s traditional Russian Tea Cakes can’t be beaten for flavor, and last well in a cookie tin! We also love the Air Fryer Gingerbread Cookies. And if you love Candy Canes try these Frosted Candy Cane Cookies for the pepperminty awesomeness! And if you know anyone with gluten allergies try my White Chocolate No Bake Cookies OR my Chocolate No Bake Cookies, both delicious and allergy friendly.

What do I need to make Iced Molasses Cookies?

Ingredients for molasses cookies.
  • all-purpose flour
  • baking soda
  • ground ginger
  • ground cinnamon
  • salt
  • nutmeg
  • cloves
  • soft butter
  • brown sugar
  • light molasses
  • egg
  • powdered sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • cream
  • parchment paper
  • wire racks
  • baking sheets
  • hand mixer or stand mixer
  • mixing bowls

Icing in a bowl with a spoon and iced cookies.

The types of molasses?

What kind of molasses should I use? This recipe was developed with light, unsulphered molasses. Most of the molasses found in the stores is unsulphered.

Typically they sell light or unsulphered molasses in the grocery store. Light molasses comes from the first boiling of sugar beets or cane, dark molasses is from the second boiling and blackstrap molasses is the third boiling of the sugar can or beets. The flavors also follow that lineup, light has a lightly sweet flavor and taste, dark is heavier, and blackstrap is the sharpest and sometimes has a little bitterness to it.

Next time you’re buying molasses look at the shelves and see what’s available. Sometimes I can find all three, and sometimes there is no variety and we get light. Maybe it depends on the time of the year.

How to make Iced Molasses Frosting

These cookies are actually iced with icing, not frosting. Icing is typically made of powdered sugar, vanilla, and cream or milk. It can be made thick or thin depending on how you want it to be set up. More milk or cream to make it drizzly, less if you want it thicker.

Iced Molasses cookie icing.

Now frosting is typically butter-based and thicker. You can add color to it, stack cakes with it, and stick things together with it. Frosting is usually found on cakes, think buttercream, cream cheese, and even swiss meringue buttercream.

Iced cookies with icing and a cookie with a bite out of it.

WHY DO MOLASSES COOKIES GET HARD AND DRY?

If cookies are hard or dry then you’ve got a couple of problems happening. You’ve either added too much flour to your recipe, which is why you should loosen your flour with a spoon before scooping. Measuring carefully OR switching to a digital scale can help you.

Overbaking cookies can also dry them out. Only bake cookies just until they’re done. They may still be soft when they’re baked through. They only need time to set up on the baking sheet at that point. Leave the warm cookies on the pan to set up before transferring them to a cooling rack.

And if you’ve baked soft chewy cookies and they get hard then you’re probably not storing them in an airtight container. Try a large flat container and separate layers as needed with parchment paper or waxed paper. Or use Ziploc bags to seal your cookies up very well.

Make ahead of time

To make in advance for the busiest time of the year, make them up to the point of cooling them on the cooling rack. Place un-iced cookies in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. If you don’t have a freezer bag you can use plastic wrap to wrap the cookies up tightly. Then use a storage container OR a regular storage zipper bag.

OR roll the dough in balls and freeze in the same way. Thaw and bake as usual.

Cooling rack with iced cookies on it.

OUR OTHER FAVORITE COOKIE RECIPES

We love a good cookie around here. These are three of our favorite recipes that are NOT holiday cookies!

Yield: 2 dozen

Iced Molasses Cookies

iced molasses cookies with a cup of icing too.

Thick chewy Iced Molasses Cookies are going to be your new favorite cookies! Just like grandma used to make, these cookies are PURE comfort food!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup un-sulphured molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 TBSP cream

Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°
    2. line baking sheet with parchment and set aside
    3. in a medium bowl mix the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, and cloves with a whisk, and then set aside
    4. in a larger mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy, 2-3 minutes
    5. beat in the eggs and vanilla
    6. add the molasses and beat well
    7. fold into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined
    8. then roll into tablespoon-sized balls
    9. place cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets
    10. flatten balls slightly
    11. bake 12-14 minutes until just baked, cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes
    12. transfer the cookies to cooling racks and cool completely
    13. make the icing by stirring the powdered sugar and vanilla together
    14. drizzle in just enough of the cream to make a thick icing
    15. spoon onto the cooled cookies, spread with the back of the spoon
    16. let the iced molasses cookies sit until the icing is set up

Nutrition Information

Yield

24

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 178Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 25mgSodium 207mgCarbohydrates 28gFiber 0gSugar 18gProtein 2g

This nutrition information was calculated using a computer program, results may vary.

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laura sampson

About Laura

Laura is on a mission to teach modern family oriented women how to make old-fashioned foods new again. A wife and mom of 3 boys, Laura understands the struggles of trying to serve a home-cooked meal each night. She provides recipes and cooking hacks for busy moms to create dishes they may think take more time or skill than they have to make. Read more...

5 thoughts on “Old-Fashioned Iced Molasses Cookies”

  1. Do you use heavy whipping cream. Where it calls for cream? .just would like clarification. Thank you. These look amazing.

    Reply
    • You can do either heavy or regular cream, and half n half or milk will work too! Cream is nice and thick and feels special but any of them will work. The trick is to not add too much of whatever you’re using!

  2. I followed the recipe to a T, but they were kinda thin but chewy and very good.. but I dont understand why they weren’t thicker…I rolled them into nice size balls…
    Help I wanna make them again

    Reply
    • It’s possibly one of two problems, and neither of them is you, or the recipe. I think butter is now much more watery as farmers work to feed their cows with rising prices and a lack of feed. I’ve read that they’re changing their diets based on what they can get and it’s bound to affect the milk and therefore the butter. The other issue I’ve seen is companies selling “natural sugar” IE unrefined sugar as “brown sugar” and it just doesn’t work in a lot of recipes. Cookies don’t stay puffy but rather just widen out get crispy like cookies made with all-white sugar.

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