Filed under: Cookies / Drop Cookies / Holiday
December 9, 2020

Chocolate Molasses Cookies

Chewy, chocolatey and perfect for the holidays. These cookies are sweetened with brown sugar and molasses; they have bittersweet notes of dutch cocoa and the signature smokiness taste from the molasses. 

Yield: 18 cookies
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Chewy, chocolatey and perfect for the holidays. These cookies are sweetened with brown sugar and molasses and have bittersweet notes of dutch cocoa and that signature molasses smokiness. 

 

 

Last fall I was tinkering around with a recipe for spiced molasses cookies and in those trials I had made these. I didn’t want to be redundant, so I decided I’d wait awhile before I published the chocolate version. Then, these chocolate sugar cookies happened and although they were perfect, I kept a sweet spot in my heart for these. The molasses just make these special for the holidays and I do love that bittersweet taste the syrup imparts. 

 

 

Chewy cookies, always 

If you can find a crispy or crunchy cookie on this site, I’ll hand you a 20$. My love for chew runs deep and is what brought us these beloved chocolate chunk cookies and these brown butter chocolate cookies. The key ingredients are egg yolks and brown sugar. Like any good buttermilkbysam recipe, these chocolate molasses cookies have both. 

I once heard a cookie described as ‘bendy’ and that is exactly how I picture a good chewy cookie. These chocolate molasses cookies are certainly that! 

 

  

 

Where do those molasses cookie cracks come from anyway? 

This is caused by a reaction between the baking soda and the molasses which are very acidic. Essentially, these cookies puff up quite a bit due to that reaction and then they fall quickly – creating cracks. 

 

 

How to make the very best chewy chocolate molasses cookies 

This is a very, very simple cookie recipe but there are a few things you want to get just right: 

  1. Bring the butter to a cool room temperature; you want to be able to press it and leave a slight indentation but you don’t want it overly soft or melty. 
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until very, very light and fluffy. You’ll notice different stages the mixture goes through (dark and wet, lighter, very light and fluffy)  and you may have to scrape the bowl a few times. 
  3. Don’t overbeat the flour and cocoa. Once the dry ingredients are in, beat to just combine. You don’t want to overdevelop the gluten. 
  4. Roll the cookie balls between your palms to get those signature cracks. 

 

Sam, what do I do with extra egg whites? 

Aren’t you in the right place! Here are some ideas: 

 

FAQ 

What kind of molasses should I use? 

I always get ‘Grandma’s molasses’ because it’s the one most readily available in the store. I have tried this with blackstrap molasses and found the cookies turned out far too strong (robust, as they say) for my taste. But if that’s what you are after, use it! 

What kind of cocoa should I use? 

Dutch process will lend a rich, chocolatey taste. If you look closely you’ll spot a difference between some of the photos; in one I used dutch rouge cocoa and in another a mix of dutch cocoa and black, hence the gray black color. 

My tops didn’t crack, what did I do wrong? 

I’ve found you get better, bigger cracks when you’ve smoothed out the dough with your hands first. If you scoop and the dough has a textured look when it goes into the oven you won’t get as cute of a cookie post-bake. 

Can I add other flavors? 

Sure! Cinnamon and ginger would be lovely here I think, for a more spiced chocolate taste. Cardamom would be wonderful as well. 

What can I roll the cookies in? 

My favorite ingredient for rolling cookies, for pie crusts and scone topping is always organic cane sugar because it’s not as white, is not as finely milled so the pieces are bigger and have a slight brown color. It gives a rustic look and a crunch to my baked goods. That said, you can use whatever granulated sugar you have on hand. Definitely don’t use brown sugar, but turbinado could work. And if you want something more colorful roll them in sprinkles! Nonpareils are quite cute on these.  

How should I store the cookies? 

In an airtight container. These stay good for quite awhile, 4-5 days. 

Will cookie size affect bake time? 

Absolutely. The instructions I’m giving are 9 minutes for 1 tablespoon of dough. If you are making bigger cookies you need to, a. Space them out well as these spread and b. bake them for a little longer. 

What’s the best way to prepare a cookie sheet? 

Use cooking spray to coat the bottom with a thin layer of oil and place a sheet of parchment paper on top. The oil keeps the paper in place. Do not oil the cookie sheet and place the cookies directly on the metal. Also, different parchment papers can yield different results, I find the best one to be reynolds bleached paper which doesn’t cause over-browning. If you have a silpat you can use that, although bake time can differ, they might overspread and overbrown. 

How do I know when the cookies are done baking? 

This one is tricky because you cannot use your usual cues (golden edges). I like to underbake my cookies so they turn out soft. When it comes to these, I’ll wait for them to puff and then crack. If you are safe, you can gently touch the edge of a cookie with your finger and if it feels firm they are done.

Can I make the dough ahead of time? 

With caution. This dough doesn’t need and shouldn’t be ‘rested’ in the fridge or even at room temperature as both scenarios dry out the dough. The cookies turn out best when made right after mixing the dough. That said, if you absolutely need to I’d make the dough, portion the scoops, roll them in sugar, then set them on a plate to flash freeze. Once the balls are frozen, put them in a ziplock bag and leave them in the freezer. When it’s time to bake, bake them frozen and add a few minutes extra baking time. 

 

 

 

Recipe for Chocolate Molasses Cookies 

 

Chocolate Molasses Cookies

Chewy molasses cookies, but make them chocolate!
chocolate molasses cookies
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Yields: 18 cookies
5 from 38 votes

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup or 185g unsalted butter softened
  • ¼ cup or 70g molasses
  • 1 cup or 210g brown sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons or 65g dutch process cocoa
  • 1 ⅔ cup or 210g all purpose flour sprinkled in and leveled, not packed
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • Granulated sugar for rolling

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a hand mixer, beat the butter, salt, vanilla and brown sugar until very light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Add the molasses and beat for another minute. Add the yolks and beat for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Sift in the cocoa, flour and baking soda. Beat until you have a smooth dough, about 1 minute. Using two tablespoons or an ice cream scoop, portion scoops of dough onto prepared cooking sheet. Roll the balls between your hands and dip the tops of them in the granulated sugar.
  • Bake for 9 minutes, they will puff up and crack in the oven. When they come out they’ll flatten. Allow to cool slightly before moving.

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Recipe Rating




  1. 5 stars
    Wow! Wow! Wow! I was a bit skeptical of the molasses/chocolate combination. Since I’ve loved other recipes I’ve tried on this site and had everything on hand, I just went for it. These are OUTSTANDING!!! I can’t wait to try them with marshmallow!

  2. 5 stars
    Every year in anticipation of the holidays, its a family tradition to make a chewy chocolate ginger molasses cookie, and although it conjures many fond memories I’ve always felt there’s room for improvement on the cookie. Enter this cookie which is flavor and texture perfection! I added in 1 T. of fresh ginger and 1 C. dark chocolate chips to keep with family recipe and now need to go hide the cookies before they magically disappear!

  3. 5 stars
    I’m packing to move, so I had to substitute with what I have left, which meant instead of AP, I did 75% bread flour 25% rye, and these were possibly the best cookies I’ve ever made, so thank you for the simple, wonderful recipe that worked with what I had.

  4. 5 stars
    This was one of my favorite cookies I made during the holiday season. I didn’t have any Dutch process cocoa on hand- so I used regular; otherwise I followed the recipe exactly. Generally, I don’t stick to recipes and improvise as I see fit, but the precision in Sam’s recipe leads to incredible results! I love molasses cookies and these will be a regular in the rotation. Easy to follow instructions, beautiful cookies and the combination of two of my favorite flavors! Now I just need to try with marshmallows!

  5. 5 stars
    These cookies are amazing! My mom can be pretty particular about her desserts and she likes to cling to her classics, but I disrupted even that when I made these cookies for her. Now, they’re her new favorite for me to make whenever I visit.

  6. 5 stars
    Delicious as is but added the marshmallows per Sam’s recommendation and they were even better! A favorite of my holiday cookie box and definitely being made again!

  7. 5 stars
    These cookies were a huge hit with everyone who tried them! My great-aunt even asked for the recipe. I stuffed them with marshmallows per your suggestion on IG and dipped them in holiday sprinkles instead of sugar. They were very soft (probably more so because of the marshmallow) but chewy and delicious nonetheless… and would make fantastic ice cream sandwiches 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    I’ve been on a years long search for The chocolate cookie, and the search is over! The flavor and texture (chewy with a little crunch from the sugar) are amazing, and the cookies so aesthetic! They bake perfectly round, which just tickles me pink!

  9. 5 stars
    Wow! I made these today and couldn’t believe how great they turned out. I followed the recipe exactly as written and was so glad when the baking time turned out to be accurate (my oven is old and sometimes I have to re-jig recipes). They look exactly as pictured and they taste phenomenal! Such an interesting flavour combination and perfect for those with a sweet tooth who prefer a more subtly sweet treat! Can’t wait to make more of your recipes!

  10. 5 stars
    WOW. This is my new go-to, crowd-pleasing chocolate cookie. Simple ingredients and instructions create and extremely rich and chewy cookie that taste like hot chocolate had an identity crisis (in the best possibly way). Be warned: if you sample the dough, you might not be able to stop. So think ahead and make a double or triple batch. I made a triple batch then a single batch for multiple holiday festivities and they were always an absolute hit! Also, made them gluten free by using 1:1 Bob’s Red Mill GF Flour and weighed the flour out by converting cups to grams. I also made the dough a day ahead of time (started before I read it wasn’t recommended) and stored the dough in the fridge in an airtight container with plastic wrap pressed against the dough. Seemed to be just fine! Well, more than fine as stated above. Thanks for another incredible recipe, Sam!

    • Emilie, that’s so interesting! I wonder if the chilling actually helped the cookies because they had a gf flour which I know can be less ‘binding’ in baked goods. This is why I love to hear your comments, because when someone wants to make these gf I will pass on your notes! Thank you.

  11. 5 stars
    These cookies are to die for!! First off I thought they were amazing right out of the oven, BUT THEN I ate one while drinking hot chocolate and wowee these are the perfect cocoa companion. I will be making these again asap so my hot chocolate will never be without them.

  12. 5 stars
    OKAY SAM – We need to talk about how talented you are! Seriously – every recipe of yours that I’ve trade has been amazing and these are no exception. The recipe was easy to follow and very clear on the steps. Like everyone else has said, this combined two of my favorite cookies and they came out perfectly. It did go a little rogue and used sparkle sugar with stars to give a little pizazz ✨ not that they need any, but just for fun. Thanks for the amazing recipe!

  13. 5 stars
    Oh my heavenly word!!! These are just perfection. They aren’t overly sweet even with the sugar on the outside, are chewy, and have such an incredible depth to them. I added a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg to the dough as well. These are absolutely going into my rotation.

  14. 5 stars
    Well these were fantastic, chewy, flavorful… another win from your blog! My husband’s family has a recipe that has been passed down that contains chocolate and molasses, but they are rolled out, cookie cuttered, and iced… so these felt like a wonderful variation of those. Definitely adding these to my yearly holiday cookie baking list.

  15. 5 stars
    Made this yesterday for a holiday platter with black cocoa and besides being visually striking, the chocolate and molasses really played nicely together – more so than I expected. It’s perfect for cookie platters because it’s rich and has a satisfying bite, but isn’t sugary even being rolled in turbinado. So it can served alongside frosted, glazed, etc. cookies and not sugar everyone out super fast.

  16. 5 stars
    This recipe is superb! My husband bit into one of these cookies and his eyes got huge. He says that it’s the best cookie he’s had in quite awhile. Definitely a big winner around here! They are perfectly soft, and the chocolate with the molasses is delicious

  17. 5 stars
    Perfect balance of Cocoa in these. Really delicious cookie all around. These are getting added to the permanent file for sure!

  18. 5 stars
    I was skeptical about how these would turn out because of the cookie dough texture. But these cookies turned out fantastic! I never would have thought of combining bittersweet chocolate flavor with molasses. Wonderful flavor. Plus, the soft cookie center with a little crunch around the edges was perfect. Thanks for this recipe! I will definitely be making these again before Christmas.

  19. 5 stars
    These are quick and easy, both pans turned out so well – I subbed black cocoa and they are absolutely delicious. Will be repeating next week for a work event, maybe one batch with regular Dutch cocoa and another with Black cocoa.

  20. 5 stars
    absolutely delicious. made them as part of my 2021 holiday cookie box and by far my favourite cookie in the whole box. so chewy and full of flavor.

  21. 5 stars
    These are amazing! I love molasses cookies but never want to eat a whole batch. These are perfectly molassesy but mostly chocolatey and chocolate is the best.

  22. 5 stars
    Some may say that nothing beats a chocolate chip cookie. I am here to tell you that this cookie recipe proves that saying wrong. These chewy, chocolatey delights are now my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE cookie to make and eat. My boyfriend is an even bigger cookie fiend, and he’s asked me to make them multiple times after I made them once on a lark. 1000/10, truly a phenomenal/incredibly easy to make cookie!

  23. 5 stars
    I made these using Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder which to me is more chocolate-y than regular Dutched cocoa powder but not as rich as black cocoa powder and these came out beautifully. They have a deep rich chocolate flavor similar to an oreo but that molasses tang and chew. I’m tempted to make these again with a small batch of oreo filling to make sandwich cookies with these so they’d taste like oreos but have the consistency of a Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme cookie.

    • Aly, that is a fantastic idea to do them ‘oreo’ style! I’ve tried that with the chocolate sugar cookies but not these, I imagine the sweet buttercream would be even better here because of the molasses cutting through that. Also, now you’ve got me wanting to try Hershey’s Special Dark (it’s been in my pantry unopened forever!)

      • 5 stars
        Just made these and they are AMAZING! I knew as soon as I tried the dough that they would be delicious but wow… they’re everything I love in a cookie. Chewy. So soft. Crunchy from the sugar coating. I like a molasses cookie rolled all the way around with sparkling sugar because the little crunch is so good. So satisfying to see the top crack! Thank you for an amazing new family favorite!!!

    • 5 stars
      These are delicious! I love chocolate and molasses so this was such a unique and delicious pairing. The molasses flavor wasn’t super strong, but I think it was really well balanced with the chocolate. Thanks for another amazing recipe! The only Dutch cocoa powder I was able to find is red and it worked well!

  24. 5 stars
    So yummy! Love chewy cookies and the chocolate combo with molasses is really nice. Also like the small crunch from the sugar and they look so pretty! Will definitely make again.

  25. 5 stars
    You come up with nothing but the best twists on classics, hands down! I got nothing but rave responses from the people I gave these to with one person even saying they were the best cookies I’ve given him yet! The chocolatey flavor is superb without being overly rich in any way. I will say that when I made the dough, it was a little stickier than expected (not sure why that was the case for me), so I popped it in the fridge for a half hour and was able to bake them up without any issues of the dough drying out. Will definitely want to make these again, especially with the nonpareils because that looks so dang cute!

    • Stephanie, you are the sweetest! I’m so happy you guys loved these. About the dough – it should be sticky. I find that in the time I am portioning the dough and rolling it in sugar it tends to firm up. I wonder if the fridge rest is what led to your thicker cookies (from what I could tell in the photo) and if doing that helped keep the stuffed marshmallow intact. Either way, I feel the need to try this with marshmallows too now!

  26. 5 stars
    These cookies are SO GOOD! I made them and only tried one before giving them all away in gift packages. I will be making more just for us. It is a perfect combo and not complicated to make. And the dutch processed cocoa…I will never go back to regular cocoa. 🙂

  27. 5 stars
    What do you think about using black cocoa for these? I have a ton left over and I’ve already made all your other recipes using black cocoa (which were all EXCELLENT btw)

      • I think I’m going to try with just the 2 extra tbsp of cocoa and will see how it goes? I’m wondering if I could make the dough ahead of time and put it in the fridge to bake the next day

        • You mean just black for the 2 TB? That could work. For making ahead, don’t put the dough in the fridge (this will dry it out). Instead, after you portion the dough, flash freeze the scoops on a plate then once they are solid freeze them in a ziplock bag. Put them in the oven frozen and add a few extra minutes of baking time.

          • Yes, used 1/2 c Dutch cocoa and 2 tbsp black cocoa, the cookies were delish but the black cocoa definitely overpowered the molasses. Next time will just use all Dutch cocoa
            I’m just obsessed with black cocoa and trying to use it everywhere 😎

  28. 5 stars
    I was looking for a replacement for ginger molasses cookies for someone who was allergic to ginger and this really fit the bill. I doubled the recipe and it was a huge hit!

  29. 5 stars
    Thank you for dreaming up this combination of flavors, Sam! I love a traditional molasses crinkle, but the addition of the cocoa in these is pure delight. Chewy, rich, and just the right balance of sweetness. I’m looking forward to trying again with the addition of cinnamon and ginger!

  30. 5 stars
    These cookies take two of my favorite flavors and mashes them into one glorious cookie. These are sure to become a year round favorite in our house.

    • 5 stars
      Just wanted to say these cookies are great! I was looking for a chocolate cookie recipe for the chocolate cookies Van De Kamps used to sell, however that recipe has not been published! But I was happy this one came up. It’s perfection! Thank you so much for figuring this recipe out! If I could post my picture, trust me I would!