These vegan molasses ginger cookies are the perfect holiday treat! Sweet, spicy, tender on the inside, and crispy at the edges.
These are my number one, all time favorite holiday cookie.
“Favorite cookie” is, I know, a big statement. There are a lot of great cookies out there. And it’s not as though I don’t love sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, or biscotti.
But I have a very special fondness for the combination of ginger and molasses. Gingerbread might actually be my favorite holiday dessert, or at least my favorite Christmas cake. So much, so, that I have two versions of it on this blog: classic and gluten-free.
These vegan molasses ginger cookies channel the sugar and spice of gingerbread. But they cook in much less time than gingerbread cake. You can whip up a batch for last minute enjoyment on Christmas eve. Or anytime people stop by unexpectedly for a holiday gathering.
Before I veganized these cookies successfully, I came up with a number of not-so-successful versions.
It was hard, at first, to get that perfect puffy rise, the crackled texture, and the right amount of chewiness in the center.
What I found is that it’s key to melt the butter before mixing the dough. This is a trick for making chewy cookies in general, and these molasses ginger cookies are no exception. (More chewy cookie tips here.)
And over time I came up with the right ratio of baking soda to powder, spices, and so on. I like the cookies to be pretty gingery: two whole teaspoons of ground ginger go into the batter. I use just enough molasses to impart flavor without being overwhelming.
Resting the dough for these cookies helps them to have that perfect texture after they bake. You know the one I mean: chewy and puffy at the center, just crispy at the edges.
Resting cookie dough helps to fully hydrate the flour, distributing moisture evenly through the dough. This, in turn, helps the cookies to bake evenly.
Resting the cookies will also firm up the fat you’ve used (butter or oil). This prevents the cookies from spreading too thinly when they bake. In this recipe, the resting (or “ripening”) time helps the center of the cookies to become nice and puffy.
If you don’t have time to give the cookies an overnight rest, that’s OK. A minimum of two hours will be good enough. But if you remember, and you don’t mind planning ahead, I highly recommend the overnight fridge sit.
Fortunately, these cookies require much less decoration than other Christmas cookies! No piping, icing, jam, or clouds of confectioners sugar necessary.
To decorate the cookies, I simply roll cold balls of dough in sparkling sugar before baking. If you don’t have sparkling sugar at home, regular cane sugar will be fine (though sparkling sugar is a nice investment if you bake often).
It’s Christmas eve, which means that many of you spent the nights working hard in your kitchens. Allow these cookies to be a sweet, and simple dessert for you tonight.
Most vegans know the experience of having to skip dessert at a holiday gathering because the offering isn’t vegan-friendly. This year, try making a batch of these soft, sweet molasses ginger cookies to share with loved ones and friends.
Watch and smile as they earn rave reviews. Because, in my experience, they always do.
From my cozy little room at my mother’s cozy little apartment, I wish you all a wonderful Christmas eve and morning.
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My mix so far is dry and crumbly…any quick tips?
I’m sorry that I’m just seeing this! I’d say to add a little more aquafaba or flax egg (I just made them and the consistency was right, but baking can be so tricky!).
I think where I screwed up was with my egg replacer! I used one not specified in the recipe (pantry woes!) I added another mix of one though and they turned out great. Thanks!
Quick question, can the dough be moulded and frozen to bake in a few days.
This looks delicous and I can’t wait to try it.
Yes, it can! I hope you love the cookies.
Thank you. I will try both.
These cookies are delicious! It was my first time baking vegan Christmas cookies & these were the clear favorite!
These turned out amazing, thank you!!
Finally tried these today. DELICIOUS! I froze a few to put out for Santa. Has anyone tried freezing them? I imagine they’ll be fine? Next up – your new gingerbread cake! Thanks, Gena!
Yay! I can’t wait to hear what you think of the cake, Kim. And we are going in reverse order—I’m making the cookies this weekend.
Molasses cookies are some of my faves too! I’ll have to try these!
Is there an alternative to the aquafaba? It’s not something I keep on hand. Is it supposed to be egg? Would a flax egg work?
Yup, it’s to replace egg. You can definitely use 1 flax egg: 1 tablespoon flax seeds + 3 tablespoons warm water (and it sounds as though you know that already!) 🙂
This is almost identical to a recipe I used to make using 3 types of ginger (except when I used to make it years ago I used an egg and butter). This time I used your recipe, using flax seed instead of the egg and earth balance instead of butter and substituting powdered ginger, ginger root, and crystallized ginger for the cinnamon and nutmeg. They turned out great! Thanks.
hi i really want to make these but have no clue what earth balance is and have not seen it in any of the South African stores. pls help.
I love ginger cookies! I also enjoy the range you talked about in your blog posts. I am the same way on my blog – talking about very personal matters one day and posting photos of me decorating Christmas cookies with my nieces. In my opinion, it keeps things interesting!
Mmmm–one of my favorite kinds of cookies, too! I love the molasses in them. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas celebration, Gena! Big hugs! Ricki xo 😀
I love those! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!
I hope you had a wonderful Xmas, dear Gena! These look delicious! Xoxo
this is one of my favorite kinds of cookie! I will definitely need to try this…
thank you for this, i’ve been having ginger cookie cravings ;). how might this taste with whole wheat flour? it’s the only flour i have at the moment.
Merry Christmas! I love making cookies and not telling others they are vegan until after they have tried them. I love ginger everything so I will certainly try these. Hope you had a wonderful holiday!
Merry Christmas – the cookies sound wonderful. I’m a big ginger and molasses fan. 🙂
I love ginger in my stir-fry. I favor a chewy cookie over a crispy one too.
I wanted to visit a vegetarian restaurant on the UWS today, but of course, it’s closed today. 🙁
What can I substitute the vegan butter with for the molasses ginger cookies? Oil free. Thank you!
Hi April! I can’t recommend an oil-free substitution for these cookies, as the butter plays a significant role in the recipe, and I haven’t tested other options. I’m sorry not to be of more help!
YUM. Wishing you the merriest of merry Christmases! And a big, huge belated congratulations to the exciting new year ahead. Take care xo
those ginger cookies look great! I made some ginger vegan GF cookies and sent a batch to the family. hope they enjoy them. as i am sure your mom will love these.
merry christmas gena!
Merry Christmas girl!!! xoxo
Merry XMAS Gena! I read your article with much interest — not because of the vegan ginger cookies, but because of the mention of the vegan shepherds pie. Growing up I was a big fan of shepherds pie and I am hoping you will share the recipe for yours!
Speaking of recipes, may I challenge you as we head into 2011. Might you craft and share a recipe for a vegan version of stuffed cabbage rolls. That was another favorite and I’d love a quality vegan version. Thanks for considering my request.
Regards & Happy New Year, Howard
Marvelous cookies! I too prefer molasses cookies to gingerbread, and these definitely look delectable. Merry Christmas, Gena!
These cookies look fantastic. Stacked up beside gingerbread these would win me over for sure.
I completely agree with your last paragraph. We are a gluten, corn and dairy free home and will be hosting dinner this year (in less than 12 hours – ah!). I’ve prepared the most amazing appetizer & dessert spread – all which worked out to be vegan too! A lot of the guests are skeptical and have said they’ll leave hungry.
haha can’t wait to challenge them on that!
We also can not eat gluten, dairy, corn. Would love to hear what all you made & the recipes for them! 🙂
Happy holidays, Gena! I bet Santa was plenty pleased with his cookies, especially if he got a glass of hemp milk to wash it all down 🙂
Merry Christmas, my friend 🙂
Merry Xmas, Gena, to you and your family!
The cookies look wonderful and I can’t believe your mom wanted a crisper cookie. For me, chewy, doughy, and half raw is the way I like cookies 🙂 I came up with a gingerbread dough ball that I really like.
I love how you said these have some spiciness to them! Yum. I love putting quite a bit of ginger in my ginger/molasses cookies. Growing up, I could eat my grandma’s ginger molasses cookies by the dozen. If she was still with us, I probably would 🙂
Great job on these. Because yes, what would a vegan eat otherwise at the holidays? (tongue-in-cheek per your last paragraph)
Hope Santa was good to you!!! xoxo
Ha, I agree about chewy cookies! And merry Christmas, dear.
Agreed: those crunchy cookies are only good as ornaments! Ginger and molasses is one of my favorite combinations too. So sparkly!
MERRY CHRISTMAS, DEAR GENA!!
Merry Christmas my friend!!!
Same to you, dear one!