These cookies were a holiday staple in our home when I was growing up. We had a special tradition to bake and decorate them with close family friends every year and that day was always a major highlight of the Christmas season for us. We adored spending the day together baking festive cookies and looked forward to it all year long!
My mom always made sure that the dough recipe was a closely guarded secret for some reason, even though we had sourced it from this cookbook (read: not a family recipe). 🤣 While I definitely can’t take credit for creating this cookie recipe, I wanted to share it with you because baking these cookies is such a fun (and easy!) way to get into the holiday spirit. Plus, they make excellent gifts / are great for cookie exchanges!
One thing of note about the recipe is that it takes a bit of planning because the dough needs to chill for a little while before you roll it out to cut and bake.
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1/2 cup water
5 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
To make dough, cream butter & sugar until fluffy and pale yellow; add in molasses, water, and then slowly incorporate the remaining dry ingredients. Cover and chill 2-3 hours (best overnight).
To bake, heat oven to 375°F.
Roll dough out to ~1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface then cut into desired shapes, carefully remove dough from cookie cutters, and place dough shapes two inches apart on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet (spaced because dough will expand a bit).
Gently press decorations (red hots, raisins, etc.) into dough and bake for 10-12 min — remove from oven and allow to cool.
Alternatively, you can decorate after cooling with icing and sprinkles. I personally love them as-is, but I know that others like to add some more festive elements.
I love the balanced flavor because while they’re definitely sweet (I mean, they contain sugar AND molasses) they’re not cloyingly sweet. I hope that you (and maybe Santa? 😉) enjoy these soft, chewy molasses gingerbread cookies as much as we do!
If you’re still looking for festive cookie ideas, I have a collection of options here.
Happy holidays, friends!
Sending hugs —