Not Martha

Sparkling Chewy Molasses Cookies

This is my favorite cookie this year. They are easy enough to make to qualify as something to make for cookie swaps, especially if you’ve, um, waited too long to make them to allow a roll of dough chill long enough to do slice and bake varieties. I modified this recipe ever so slightly from the Chewy Molasses-Spice Cookies at

I used sanding sugar to coat the balls of dough because it adds a nice bit of crunch. I didn’t have white sanding sugar in the house so I used demerara sugar, which is a light brown sugar. I suspect a white sanding sugar would be prettier, but I do like the extra molasses boost the demerara gives.

Here are some balls of dough before being plunked down on a baking sheet:

Sparkling Chewy Molasses Cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled, or 10 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses, blackstrap works well here
  • about 1/2 cup chunky sanding sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  3. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until combined. Beat in the egg, and then the molasses until just combined. Put mixer on low and slowly add the flour mixture just until dough forms.
  4. Spoon 1 tablespoon of dough at a time, roll into a ball between your palms, then roll in sanding sugar to cover all sides.
  5. Place on cookie sheets spaced three inches apart (cookies will spread while baking).
  6. Bake one sheet at a time until edges of cookies are just firming up, 10 to 15 minutes. I found 11 minutes to be perfect in my oven which runs slightly too hot no matter what you do.
  7. update: If you freeze the balls you can bake them by taking them out of the freezer and putting them right in the oven. It’ll take about 15 minutes at 350. The cookies will spread a little less, and crack a bit.
  8. Allow to cool on baking sheet for a moment then transfer cookies to racks to cool down.
  9. Will keep for four days in an airtight container.

Makes three dozen cookies, more or less.

· comments [42] · 12-21-2008 · categories:christmas · food · recipes ·

42 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mox Rogers // Dec 21, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    I made a very similar recipe a couple weeks ago for my husband’s poker night guys group. I got one I think, and the rest got scarfed. They were VERY popular. Like a gingersnap but friendlier.

  • 2 Liz J in Central Illinois // Dec 21, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    I found a recipe for Molasses Sugar Cookies a few years ago – – I think in a Southern Living Cookie Cookbook. It’s very similar to this recipe, and one of our favorites!

  • 3 Nell // Dec 21, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    Yum! Thanks for the recipe!

  • 4 dana mccauley // Dec 22, 2008 at 6:08 am

    Looks like you and I are kindred spirits when it comes to cookies! I made a similar recipe for my own sweet tray:

  • 5 adrienne // Dec 22, 2008 at 6:12 am

    Those are my favorite molasses cookies ever. I’m actually planning on making a double batch today for giving away! Yum…

  • 6 greta // Dec 22, 2008 at 9:15 am

    mmm, i love these cookies. i’ve been using a similar recipe for about 10 yrs and have always been so pleased with how simple and pretty and incredibly delicious they are. for the record, i’ve always just used regular granulated sugar for the outside, and they come out just fine. yum!

  • 7 michelle // Dec 22, 2008 at 9:15 am

    Those look delicious! And they are very fitting for the season, like a grown-up gingerbread.

  • 8 Seanna Lea // Dec 22, 2008 at 9:30 am

    Those look really good.

    I have to ask (even though I know google can tell me) what is the difference between sanding sugar and regular granulated sugar?

  • 9 megan // Dec 22, 2008 at 10:27 am

    Seanna – Sanding sugar has large crystals which are decorative. You can absolutely use regular granulated sugar for the outside, the original recipe does.

  • 10 Nightfall // Dec 22, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Yum! My 11 year old son devoured these things. I accidentally stuck in two whole sticks of butter instead of the 1 1/2 and they came out just fine.

  • 11 Diane // Dec 22, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    Just made them – delish! Thanks much!

  • 12 Kristen // Dec 23, 2008 at 9:34 am

    I made a similar recipe this weekend. It included black pepper in the dough, and I love a little hit of salt with my sweets so I added a few pinches of sea salt to the demerara sugar. It was very good.

  • 13 Mia // Dec 24, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    They’re in the oven right now. They look great! Thanks for the recipe.

  • 14 Tina // Dec 28, 2008 at 11:11 am

    I have made very similar cookies(and made dozens for this Christmas, of course)to these–called Molasses Crinkles in the old 1967 edition Fannie Farmer cookbook I have. My recipe calls for Crisco, instead of butter, which is actually a good thing because I am normally a cookie dough eater, but dough with Crisco instead of butter in it doesn’t tempt me. I love how they miraculously turn out almost perfectly round when they are done, and they are so easy and tasty. I *might* have to try your/the Martha Stewart recipe sometime, though.

  • 15 Charm // Jan 1, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    am making these today to take to a friends house tomorrow… they are so delicious!!

  • 16 chrissy // Jan 2, 2009 at 7:28 am

    Just wanted to let you know that I made these last night and they were so easy and turned out perfect! Must be a pretty foolproof recipe, I’m a very amateur baker. Definitely a keeper. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  • 17 Salty // Jan 8, 2009 at 11:10 am

    I made these in the kitchenaid while I had two processes going (pasta making and ice cream making) and with all the on and off mixing, sporatic adding, and eventual scopping- they came out great. Sooo good. And if a recipe can make it through my all-at-once kitchen process, it’s a keeper.

  • 18 Ruth M // Jan 16, 2009 at 8:25 am

    When we lived in Maine, near Bangor, the women made a large soft molasses cookie to go with the pot of baked beans always hot on the stove. My father affectionately called these cookies “bootheels” cause that was about the size and shape and during mud season… the right color as well.

    Any idea where I could find this recipe?

  • 19 Pransellknit » Blog Archive » Madness, part one // Jun 12, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    […] used the Sparkling Chewy Molasses Cookies recipe from Not Martha. If you are even vaguely interested in molasses biscuits, I recommend giving […]

  • 20 JessaMae Photography // Nov 16, 2010 at 8:43 am

    weeeee!! I randomly saw this post on the side of your blog & squealed! These are one of my fave cookies: I may have to make these tonight…thx!!

  • 21 Recipes for molasses cookies | Bohemian Revolution // Dec 13, 2010 at 10:11 am

    […] and they’re so very seasonal right now. Not Martha has a delicious-sounding recipe for Sparkling Chewy Molasses Cookies, which is in turn based on the Chewy Molasses-Spice Cookies from Martha Stewart. They’re […]

  • 22 Natasha // Dec 16, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    I just found your blog and i’m so happy that I did! These cookies look and sound fantastic, i’m going to get my ingredients and make them this weekend!

  • 23 Miriam // Dec 22, 2010 at 11:44 am

    I like this recepies, I made my self o similar today for Chrystmas.Merry Chrystmas for all!

  • 24 Emily D. // Dec 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    These cookies are awesome- I just wish I had doubled the recipe!

  • 25 Shelly // Jan 1, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Just wanted to let you know that I baked these and brought them along to our Christmas brunch. They were a big hit. Thank you! I plan on baking them again. Delicious!

  • 26 Cyndy // Jan 1, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Thank you for this recipe! My husband remembered the molasses tea cookies his great-grandmother from Mississippi would make during the holidays and always talked about them. I tried other recipes without luck. This was easy, pretty and crunchy with the demerara sugar, and tasty! I even liked them, and I was never a molasses cookies person.

  • 27 Linda // Jan 9, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Made these for a NYE dinner dessert at a friend’s house and they were gone in a minute. I added some ground ginger and some chopped crystallized ginger. Wow, great cookies, easy to make and look very professional!

  • 28 Valerie // Mar 22, 2011 at 11:03 am

    I made these but the dough was too soft where I can’t roll them in the palm of my hands without it sticking…Should I have chill it a little for it to harden somewhat?

  • 29 Skylar // Aug 3, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    A lot of people have had issues with the dough, and have had the cookies turn out flat and crunchy (not at all soft and chewy like Martha describes!). I had the same issue:, but yours look fantastic! Any other modifications besides the sugar? I’ve heard the amounts of baking soda and/or butter might be the culprits…

  • 30 megan // Aug 3, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Skylar – I’m not sure. I do know that when I made the famous NYTimes chocolate chip cookies with fancy Kerrygold they turned out perfectly and when I made them with very decent but regular butter they spread like crazy. Maybe it is the butter?

  • 31 Courtney // Oct 31, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    I have made these cookies many times. They are amazing! Thanks for the recipe!

  • 32 Faythe // Nov 15, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    I haven’t made a batch of molasses cookies in so long. Thanks for the reminder. :)

  • 33 elizabeth // Nov 28, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Thank you for this recipe! These are super-yummy, easy to make, and sparkly. Like Linda, I added a bit of freshly diced ginger. Providing I am able to refrain from eating them all myself, I plan to make these for all the holiday parties coming up.

  • 34 Elizabeth // Nov 30, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I’m going to try this tonight. I think the issue with Martha’s recipe is it just has too much sugar, making the cookies flat and crisp instead of soft or chewy. I tried that recipe a couple weeks ago and felt like I was eating candy, not cookies.

  • 35 Sandy // Dec 22, 2011 at 9:06 am

    These are amazing! Having them warm out of the oven is especially good. I made a batch and put the balls in the freezer, then pull them out for a last minute dessert or perfect coffee break for friends over the holidays.
    By the way, I used my daughters sparkling white sugar (for decorating iced cookies) and it was perfect. Also raw sugar is a little bigger if you don’t have sanded.

  • 36 sandie fletcher // Dec 23, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    i have just been making batch after batch of these. cos ther family keeps eating them before i give them away .. thanks for the freezing tip :)
    they really are delicious!

  • 37 Amy // Dec 1, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    It’s difficult & expensive to come by unsalted butter where I live. Is it possible to use salted butter and just reduce (or eliminate) the salt?

    And has anyone experimented with wholemeal flours? I make most of my fruit cake with a mixture of whole wheat and wholemeal spelt flours, but I’ve never tried it with cookies.

    I think I’ll try chilling the dough next time to cut down on the amount they spread.

  • 38 Wendy // Nov 18, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    Thank you for posting this recipe! My grandmother has been wanting me to make Molasses cookies for ages, but the only recipe I had (that I knew was good) used Crisco, which I haven’t been using lately, and don’t have in the house right now.

  • 39 A Cookbook for Chick Lit Lovers! Cookies not included …. // Jan 10, 2014 at 11:12 am

    […] I am (wishing I were) eating molasses ginger gems from Not Martha! The recipe is super easy–no rolling or cookie-pressing or decorating–and the cookies […]

  • 40 frickshun // Mar 25, 2014 at 6:27 am

    I realize the post is pretty old but I had to jump in to say I’ve made these a handful of times. They always come out amazing. They’ve never spread too much for me & I think the most important thing is DON’T OVERCOOK THEM. They’ll be perfectly chewy & firm up when they cool. If you overcook, they become way too hard when cooled. I use Sugar In The Raw for rolling but any crystal sugar works. Forgot to say……THESE ARE MY FAVE COOKIES.

  • 41 Jan // Apr 16, 2014 at 9:26 am

    These are the BEST molasses cookies and I make them often. I get told “these are store bought as they are all the same size”! I make colorful baggies for different holidays for rehabilitation patients…they LOVE ‘EM and I love all the Thank Yous!

  • 42 Michelle R. // Dec 17, 2014 at 7:05 am

    I make these cookies every year and my mother-in-law loves them! I always have to make two batches to make sure we get some. Best recipe ever!

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