Vegan Ginger Molasses Cookies
Soft and chewy ginger molasses cookies with just the right amount of spice. The perfect cookie is hard to come by - thankfully, you now have these. So delicious, you’d never know they’re free of eggs or butter! Vegan. <jump to recipe>
For as long as I can remember, ginger molasses cookies have held the spot as my all-time favorite type of cookie. Especially in the fall and winter, because there's something so perfect about a warm drink and fresh ginger cookie in hand. Make that two cookies, actually. I prefer a soft, chewy ginger molasses cookie as opposed to the crunchier kind. And, I like my cookies to taste quite "ginger-y" and "molasses-y". As you might be able to guess, I take my ginger molasses cookies quite seriously – which means I'm often prepared for a let-down when I try one from somewhere new.
Anguel (now) knows this well. I must have mentioned my love for ginger molasses cookies early on in our relationship. Shortly after, he started buying me ginger molasses cookies from whatever Toronto coffee shop he happened to visit that day. He looked so cute whenever he'd proudly pull out a crumpled cookie bag from his jacket pocket. Not wanting to offend, I always made sure to eat these edible gifts. Every. single. one. The majority of them were yummy, but I definitely ended up eating my way through more disappointing cookies than I wanted to. That is, before I got the sense to tell him which cookies were good and which were best forgotten. It's a good thing he learns quickly!
Now that we're in Vancouver, we need to repeat this whole cookie testing exercise all over again. But we haven't found the time yet, so instead I opted for the homemade route. I figured it was a good time investment, because this way, I'll have the perfect recipe on hand for whenever the craving hits. Thank goodness we have a winner, because this girl's cookie cravings can get serious.
These cookies are soft, chewy and have the perfect amount of spice. I re-worked a favorite family recipe to get a healthier cookie that tastes every bit as delicious. A flax egg (i.e. ground flax seed and water) replaces a regular egg. The all-purpose white flour is replaced by a reliable combination of spelt and whole-wheat pastry flour. I've nudged down the sugar content, and used melted coconut oil instead of melted butter. Some simple fixes for a whole lot of improvement. You're going to need a lot of self restraint to stop at one!
Turns out, molasses has some great health benefits. Molasses is actually a byproduct of processing sugar cane or sugar beet. The juice from the sugar cane gets heated in several stages to remove additional sucrose, which then can be turned around and sold as table sugar. What remains is molasses. Most molasses you'll see in the store would be from sugar cane – and you may even see a few varieties, such as "Fancy Molasses", "Dark Molasses" or "Blackstrap Molasses". These names represent how many stages of heating they've been through (and thereby the amount of sucrose extraction). Fancy Molasses has gone through one stage, and contains the most sucrose. Dark Molasses has been through two stages, and Blackstrap has been through three. Blackstrap Molasses is most concentrated when it comes to mineral content and also has the least amount of sucrose. If possible, try to buy Blackstrap Molasses (un-sulphured), but in any case, all are better options than white sugar! They don't create the same blood-sugar spike as refined white sugar, and they'll provide you with nutrients such as calcium, iron and magnesium.
The cookies themselves are very straightforward to pull together. I like to shape them into round discs on the cookie sheet, to make sure each cookie comes out perfectly (I'm obsessed). These cookies are meant to be soft and chewy – so they're really sensitive to bake time. I recommend 10 minutes in the oven, but depending on how hot your oven runs, you may need to adjust by a minute or two. If you happen to have the choice between lighter or darker baking sheets, I recommend going with lighter. I was successful in using both, but found that the ones on darker pans cooked a bit faster. The cookies will firm up slightly as they cool, so make sure you pull them out of the oven while they're still soft. Allow the cookies to cool fully, then store in a sealed container or on a plate covered tightly with plastic wrap. They're best freshly baked, so try to enjoy within a few days or so (but you won't have any issues with that, I'm sure).
VEGAN GINGER MOLASSES COOKIES
MAKES 14-16 COOKIES (vegan)
1 tablespoon ground flax
3 tablespoons water
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup spelt flour
2 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup molasses (unsulfured)
2/3 cup coconut sugar (or cane sugar)
Optional - Cane sugar, for rolling*
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine flax and water to make a "flax egg". Stir to combine and set aside for ~10 minutes. While it sets up, you can start assembling your other dry and wet ingredients.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine whole wheat pastry flour, spelt flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. Use a whisk or a fork to fluff up the flour and ensure all the spices are evenly distributed.
In a large bowl, combine melted oil and molasses. Use an electric mixer on high speed to beat the ingredients together for 2-3 minutes until well combined. Add the sugar and flax egg. Mix on low speed until combined.
Add half of the dry mixture to the wet ingredients. Mix for 1 minute. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until there's no visible flour remaining.
Scoop the dough into round balls. If you'd like the cookies to have a sugar coating on the outside, now is the time to roll the dough balls into extra cane sugar. Place dough on cookie sheet, using the palm of your hand to gently flatten. Leave space for the cookies to spread out. Bake for ~10 minutes, rotating sheet half way through if needed. Let cookies cool slightly on pan, before transferring to oven rack to cool completely.
-*The final step of rolling dough in sugar before baking is entirely optional. This step results in cookies like the ones pictured. Use cane sugar for rolling. If you only have coconut sugar on hand, skip the sugar rolling step entirely.
-If you don't have an electric mixer, use a whisk and be prepared for a bit of a workout. When it comes time to mixing the flour into the wet ingredients, swap the whisk for a wooden spoon or spatula.