One Molasses Spice Cookie to Rule Them All

Makes 12 Large Cookies

If you only knew how many versions of this cookie I made before I was completely satisfied. The resulting cookie is one that is crisp at the edges but bendy and chewy at the center. Deep molasses-y flavor, and a perfect and novel spice blend that includes fennel seeds, candied ginger, and red pepper flakes. To me, these are perfect. I’ll let you decide if you agree.

Active Time: 1 hr

Total Time: 1 hr 15 mins

Screenshot 2023-12-15 at 4.58.53 PM


  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour (195 g)
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon fennel seed
  • ½  teaspoon ground red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup chopped candied ginger (2 oz)
  • ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup turbinado or demerara sugar, for rolling
  • ¾ teaspoon flaky sea salt, for rolling


  • 6 ounces (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter


  • 1 large egg




















1. Brown the butter:

  • Cut 6 ounces butter (12 tablespoons) into 1” pieces. Add to a small pot and set over medium heat. Cook, whisking often once the butter has melted, until the milk solids turn deep amber color, 8-12 minutes. Pour the browned butter into a heatproof vessel and chill until firm but not rock hard, about 20 minutes.

2. Make the dough:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together 1½ cups (195 g) all purpose flour, 1½ tsp baking soda, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¾ teaspoon kosher salt.
  • In a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, blitz ¾ teaspoon fennel seed and ½  teaspoon red pepper flakes until coarsely ground. Add to the flour mixture and whisk to combine.
  • Thinly slice or chop about 2 ounces of candied ginger (enough to fill ¼ cup measure)
  • Scrape the chilled browned butter into a large bowl (to use with a hand electric mixer) or into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar and beat on medium speed until light brown and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Add ⅓ cup molasses, 1 large egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and beat again on medium until well combined, scraping down the bowl as needed with a spatula.
  • Add the flour mixture, all at once, and mix on low speed, scraping once if needed, until a fluffy dough forms, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the chopped ginger and mix again until well distributed, 15 seconds longer.

3. Portion and Chill:

  • Line a small baking sheet or plate with parchment. Using a 2 ounce scoop or a scant ¼ cup measure, portion the dough into 12 equal portions (about 2 ounces each). They will be shaggy and soft–don’t attempt to roll them into balls yet, we’re just pre-portoniong so they chill faster and will roll them once cold. Cover lightly with plastic wrap or parchment and chill until cold, at least 30-40 minutes, and up to overnight.

4. Roll and Bake:

  • Arrange 2 racks in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with fresh parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl, mix together ½ cup demerara sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons flaky sea salt and 1 tablespoon crushed fennel seed (you can do this in a spice grinder, mortar and pestle, or in a little resealable bag with the bottom of a pot).
  • Roll each ball into a perfect round, then drop it into the fennel sugar and coat thoroughly all over. Divide the balls amongst the baking sheets, 6 on each, spacing evenly apart.
  • Bake, rotating the baking sheets once halfway through, until they are puffed, set at the edges, cracking in spots, and still a little wet in the center, 11-13 minutes. Let cool before eating.

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