Soft Ginger Cookies
Classic ginger cookies: these bake up so soft, with tons of warm ginger and a touch of sweet molasses. A perfect cookie recipe for fall or Christmas!
*This soft ginger cookie recipe originally published on November 12, 2015. I thought it was about time it was updated. So, I’ve added a video and answers to some frequently asked questions. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy these soft ginger cookies as much as my family and I do!*
As picky as my kids can be about the foods they eat, every now and then they surprise me.
My little guy refuses to eat pasta (???), but somehow in his mind spicy gingerbread and ginger cookies are A-ok.
Not just A-ok, but really, one of his top faves.
But ginger can be an intense flavor, and when paired with earthy molasses and warm cinnamon, the result is wonderful, but kinda complex. I’m always pleasantly surprised (and a little proud!) that he actually goes for it.
So, after I attended the Better Homes and Gardens Stylemaker event earlier this fall, where I tried a fabulously flavorful soft & spicy ginger cookie, I just knew a recipe like this had to happen in my home kitchen.
Better Homes and Gardens also has a special interest magazine out right now, called 100 Best Cookies. It must have been fate all along, because one of the very last recipes in the book was for a ginger cookie similar to the one I had tried and fallen in love with.
It only took a few minor tweaks to BHG’s classic recipe to bring the ginger flavor even more assertively forward, and to add a butter-y richness that really keeps you reaching back into the jar for more!
HOW TO MAKE SOFT GINGER COOKIES
To make these cookies, start by creaming the butter and sugar together until the mixture is REALLY pale and REALLY fluffy. This step is important- it will help your cookies to be extra soft. So don’t rush it!
Beat the butter and sugar together for at least 5 full minutes.
Next, add in the egg and the molasses. Molasses gives these cookies an extra rich, slightly earthy flavor that really brings out all the best in the spicy ginger.
Once those ingredients are well-incorporated, you can add in the dry ingredients. Flour, baking soda, spices, and a little salt (for balance!) can all get worked in, along with a very special ingredient: crystallized ginger!
WHAT IS CRYSTALLIZED GINGER?
You might know this ingredient by its other name: candied ginger.
I don’t usually have too much trouble finding it at the regular supermarket at this time of year. It’s often in the produce department.
It’s basically just slices of fresh ginger that have been boiled in a sugar syrup, lightly dried, and coated in granulated sugar.
They have a chewy, sticky texture that’s similar to that of a raisin or gumdrop, and the flavor is on another level. Really intense ginger taste, with a pleasant warming sensation at the back of the throat.
Don’t leave it out! It makes the whole recipe 😉
If you have any trouble finding it, here’s a link to purchase it online: Crystallized Ginger.
And to really intensify that spicy warmth, I like to add just a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper. It gives a little tingle on the tongue, and a pleasant heat at the back of the throat.
If you aren’t a fan of a lot of spice, you can leave it out. Or if you like things extra hot, feel free to add more! It’s a “to taste” kind of ingredient, so you can make your ginger cookies as spicy or mild as you like.
Once all these ingredients have gone in, mix it all together until just barely combined. If you overwork the dough, your cookies could come out tough, or they might not spread properly.
Use a 1.5-tablepoon scoop to portion out the dough. Scoop it into balls, and roll the balls in coarse sugar. I really like to use sanding sugar, raw sugar, or demerrara sugar. This will give your ginger cookies a pretty sparkly look and a hint of sweet crunch.
Bake these cookies for 8 to 9 minutes, or until slightly set around the edges but still quite soft in the centers. They may seem a little underdone at first, but as they sit on the hot baking sheet, they will continue to cook and set up.
By the time they’re fully cooled they’ll be perfectly soft and such a comforting treat!
CAN GINGER COOKIES BE MADE AHEAD?
You can definitely make these cookies ahead! They stay perfectly soft for days and days.
HOW TO STORE GINGER COOKIES SO THEY STAY SOFT
Just place these cookies in an airtight container or zip-top bag to keep them from drying out or becoming stale.
HOW LONG WILL GINGER COOKIES KEEP?
These cookies will keep for up to 2 weeks at room temperature, or for 2 to 3 months in the freezer.
CAN YOU FREEZE GINGER COOKIES?
Cookies freeze beautifully and they can be thawed at room temperature or reheated for a few seconds in the microwave.
You could also scoop the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, freeze it, and then transfer the dough balls to a zip-top bag once they’re frozen solid. Then, just pop out a few at a time and bake them whenever the craving hits.
Nothing beats a freshly baked cookie, straight from the oven!
For more info on how to bake cookies that are truly soft (and that stay that way!) click here: 5 Secrets for Baking Impossibly Soft Cookies.
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These classic cookies are soft and a little chewy, and just bursting with warm ginger spice! A perfect recipe for your Christmas cookie exchange.
- 3/4 cups unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, finely minced
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
- coarse sugar, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line three baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and cream together until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
Add the eggs and molasses, mixing until combined.
Add the flour, crystallized ginger, ground ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and cayenne (if using), and mix until combined.
Scoop dough into 1-inch balls, and roll to coat in white sparkling sugar.
Place 1 1/2-inches apart on prepared baking sheets, and bake for 8-9 minutes, or until the edges are set but the centers are still quite soft (do not overbake).
Cool completely on the cookie sheets.