Soft and chewy and bursting with spice, these gluten-free ginger molasses cookies boast a pillowy, tender texture.
Let’s just get one thing straight: these are not gingersnaps. Not that there’s anything wrong with gingersnaps. They’re light, crispy, crunchy; just the thing for dunking in a mug of tea, or grinding with butter to make into a crust for pumpkin cheesecake squares, say. These gluten-free ginger molasses cookies just aren’t them.
These gluten-free ginger molasses cookies are incredibly moist, chewy, and tender in a way that glutenous cookies can only wish for. A generous pour of dark molasses keeps them that way for days, while adding deep, rich coffee notes that play off cinnamon, ginger and black pepper. They are little pillows of spicy love.
I went through a serious ginger molasses phase several years ago, inspired by the Thick and Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies from Baking Illustrated, and I learned a valuable lesson.
Jay and I went up to Sebastopol in Northern California to see our idols, Väsen, a Swedish band that makes traditional music sound like rock and roll. We stayed with a friend, where I decided to bake my favorite spice cookies to leave at the feet of these very tall Norse gods. I had made these cookies many times, and knew the recipe to be foolproof.
But the only flour to be found in the house was spelt flour. I measured out the ingredients anyway, rolled the cookies in sugar, and stuck them in the oven. But when I checked the cookies 10 minutes later, they had splooshed into thin, flat pancakes that kissed at the edges and stuck together, and were prone to bending and falling apart on the way to one’s mouth.
Before the show, I offered them up to our Swedish idols, mainly because I didn’t want to be stuck eating them all myself. Olov asked in his impeccable English, “Are these, like, your favorite cookies?” I nodded mutely, then scurried back to my seat.
When I told Jay the story, he said, “So basically, you lied?” Well they had been my favorites, until improper substitutions spoiled their thick chewiness.
Back in San Francisco, I went straight to Sur La Table and shelled out forty bucks for the electronic scale recommended by Cook’s Illustrated. Though I have yet to bake cookies for any more Norse gods, I find my scale indispensable especially when substituting flours in recipes, which can vary drastically in weight.
Cookies are particularly sensitive to small variations in ingredient amounts, as well as dough and oven temperature. When this dough is first mixed, it is gooey and soft, more like a quick bread batter. If you can wrestle it into a ball, roll it in sugar, and get it onto a baking sheet, it will spread generously in the heat of the oven; not quite flat as a pancake, but close. The texture will also have a vaguely gluten-free quality.
If you can bear it, cover the dough and chill it for at least an hour or two, or, preferably, one to two days. The starches in the flours will absorb moisture from the dough and swell, making for a smoother, sturdier dough. Now when you form the firm dough into balls, they will spread and puff into thick and chewy, crinkled pillows. Their mouthfeel will be smooth, almost creamy on the inside.
I adapted this recipe from three different sources: Alice Medrich’s wheat-free Ginger Cookies from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies, my own tests with gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, and the aforementioned favorite Baking Illustrated version, which I played with three years ago (and you can certainly make any variation posted there: dredged in orange sugar, flecked with gooey chocolate chunks, or gingered up with candied and freshly grated ginger).
I love that this recipe uses melted butter that gets simply stirred together with the other ingredients rather than creamed in a stand mixer. These cookies keep beautifully when properly under-baked; I like them even better on days 2 and 3 when the flavors have melded even more. And they make tasty, if messy, impromptu ice cream sandwiches, too.
If you lack a kitchen scale, you might consider putting one on your wish list this holiday season.
Dip these cookies in Creamy Cashew Gingersnap Lattes!
*Bojon appétit! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, purchase my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker, or subscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make this gluten-free ginger molasses cookie recipe, I’d love to see. Tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet.*
Gluten-Free Ginger Molasses CookiesPrint Recipe / Pin Recipe
- 1 cup GF oat flour (such as Bob's Red Mill) (4 1/2 ounces)
- 3/4 cup sweet rice flour (such as Koda Farms Mochiko) (4 ounces)
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour (such as Bob's Red Mill) (1 ounce)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and kept warm (4 ounces)
- 1/3 cup molasses (I use dark unsulphured) (3 1/2 ounces)
- 1/3 cup light or dark brown sugar (2 1/4 ounces)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar (preferably organic cane sugar), plus another 1/3 cup for rolling the cookies (2 1/4 ounces)
- 1 large egg (2 ounces out of shell)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a medium bowl, sift together the oat, sweet rice, and tapioca flours with the baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, pepper, and salt.
- In a large bowl, stir together the butter, molasses, brown sugar, and 1/3 cup of the granulated sugar. Whisk in the egg and vanilla extract. Stir in the flour mixture with a sturdy wooden spoon. Once the flour is incorporated, stir vigorously for 40 strokes - this activates the stickiness of the flours and makes for chewy cookies.
- Cover the dough and chill until firm, 1-2 hours or preferably 1-2 days.
- When you're ready to bake, position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350ºLine 2 rimless cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place the remaining 1/3 cup of granulated sugar in a shallow bowl.
- Scoop the cookies into 1" balls (a spring-loaded #40 ice cream scoop works wonderand roll each ball in the sugar. Place the balls at least 2" apart on the cookie sheet.
- Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until they are puffed and cracked, and the dough between the cracks looks underbaked, 7-10 minutes, rotating the pan after 5 minutes to ensure even baking. Repeat with the second sheet.
- Let the cookies cool slightly on the sheet (or if they've been overcooked, whisk the parchment and cookies straight off the sheet and onto a cooling rack), then use a thin, metal spatula to remove the cookies to a cooling rack. Cool completely (the cookies will still be baking from residual heat), then store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Looking for more gluten-free cookie recipes? Try these:
- Soft and Chewy Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Crunchy Gluten Free Biscotti with Hazelnuts & Chocolate
- Gluten Free Lemon Bars
- Gluten Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Vegan & Gluten Free Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Gluten Free Double Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies
- Gluten Free Blondies with Cranberries and Chestnut Flour
- Gluten Free Blondies with Coconut and Rum (aka Congo Bars)
- Gluten Free Rugelach
- Gluten Free Triple Chocolate Cookies
- Gluten Free Flourless Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies
- Find more gluten-free cookie recipes in my cookbook Alternative Baker!