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pan-banging ginger molasses cookies

Saturday, December 9, 2017
Ginger Molasses Cookies (Pan Banging) Recipe | The Vanilla Bean Blog

If you follow along on Instagram, you know I’ve been working on a ginger-molasses version of my pan-banging cookies. I finally have the ginger molasses cookies recipe for you, although I’m going to be completely honest – I’m so nervous to share it! I’ve been obsessively making them trying to get everything just right.

I also know that most everyone has a strong opinion on how they want their molasses cookies to be (soft! hard! chewy! dense! coated in sugar! no sugar! fresh ginger! just ground spices!). I did make my dear friend Zoë test them out and she gave them her approval, so I’m going to go ahead and put the recipe out into the world.

Cookie Making Tips:

This particular recipe doesn’t need to be refrigerated. The molasses and butter in this cookie helps them to spread just fine without the added chill. I also make these a little bit smaller – 2 ounces, instead of 3 ounces. A few things to note: these taste best when the centers are under baked, just like the chocolate chip cookies.

Because they are smaller, I bang the pan only 3-4 times instead of 5-6. If you do cook the centers, the outside will be slightly tough when they cool, and they don’t taste as good on the second day.

If you get things just right, the outside will be crispy, the centers soft and slightly chewy, and they will still taste great the next day. If you try them, let me know how they turn out for you!

Pan-Banging Ginger Molasses Cookies Notes:

These cookies are a little different than the chocolate chip cookies – you don’t have to chill them, and they require a little less banging. You really don’t want to overcook the centers here – the cookie edges will get a little too tough.

Just like the pan-banging chocolate chip cookies, the center needs to be under baked (if you look at the photo, there is quite a bit of un-banged surface area).

The cookies will still cook on the pan after you take them out of the oven, so the centers won’t be raw, but if you are looking for a completely crispy cookie, this isn’t it.

The edges will be crispy, and the centers a little chewy and very soft.

pan-banging-ginger cookies dipped in rum butter glaze on white parchment

Holiday Variation with Rum-Butter Glaze:

I’ve had so many questions about the glazed version of these cookies I posted on Instagram, so I’ve updated the recipe card below with the glaze option in the notes. The partially dipped cookie with holly sprinkles was inspired by Pinch of Yum’s Soft Gingerbread Cookies with Maple Glaze. The Rum-Butter Glaze was inspired by Yotom Ottolenghi & Helen Goh’s beautiful cookbook Sweet, and these are the holly sprinkles I used from Wilton.

More Pan-Banging Cookie Recipes:

Pan-banging ginger molasses cookies

Pan-banging Ginger Molasses Cookies

Servings: 10 large cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 36 minutes
Perfectly spiced, ginger molasses cookies with rippled edges and a chewy center. Uses the pan-banging cookie technique to get their famous look!
Sarah Kieffer
5 from 19 votes
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup (249g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch cloves
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup (297g) granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
  • 2 tablespoons mild molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Rum-Butter Glaze for optional holiday variation, recipe in notes

Instructions

  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium until creamy. Add the granulated sugar and beat on medium until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the molasses, egg, and vanilla, and mix on low to combine. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until combined. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, and using a spatula, make sure the molasses is completely combined into the dough and that the dough is a uniform color.
  • Form the dough into 2-ounce balls (I use this cookie scoop). Roll the balls in granulated sugar to coat. Place 4 balls an equal distance apart on a prepared pan.
  • Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake 8 minutes, until the cookies are puffed slightly in the center. Lift the side of the baking sheet up about 4 inches and gently let it drop down against the oven rack, so the edges of the cookies set and the inside falls back down (this will feel wrong, but trust me). After the cookies puff up again in about 2 minutes, repeat lifting and dropping the pan. Repeat 3-4 more times to create ridges around the edge of the cookie. Bake 13 to 16 minutes total, until the cookies have spread out and the edges are golden brown but the centers are much lighter and not fully cooked.
  • Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack; let cool completely before removing the cookies from the pan.

Notes

*Make sure your cookie batter is completely combined – molasses likes to hang out on the sides of the bowl and streak in the dough, so use a spatula at the end and make sure the batter is uniform.
*You don’t have to roll them in sugar, but I prefer them that way.
*You can play around with the spices if you want. I only like the teensiest bit of cloves, but you could add a bit more if you like.
*These cookies are rather large, but to get the edges to spread out and crinkle, they need to be on the big side. If you want to make the cookies smaller, you won’t get as many ridges on the outer layer, and your center won’t be quite as gooey. They will still be delicious, but not quite what I intended for you.
*There is a minimal amount of molasses in these cookies, but adding more makes them really chewy and a little tough.
*I think they keep best in the fridge, but I like to eat them at room temperature.
Rum-Butter Glaze Recipe, inspired by the recipe and used with permission from the cookbook, Sweet,:
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons black strap rum or dark rum (see note)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 ½ cup [180 g] confectioners’ sugar
  • Water, as needed
Melt the butter in a medium bowl. Add the salt, rum, and cinnamon (if using), and whisk to combine. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix with a spatula until combined, adding water as needed until the desire consistency is reached. Once combined, use a whisk to whisk out any lumps. 
TIP: Making glaze is often a balancing act of getting the water/sugar ratio just right, and that can differ depending on how thin or thick you want the glaze. If you want the glaze thicker, add a tablespoon of confectioners’ sugar at a time (whisking after each addition) until you like the result. If you want it thinner, add a teaspoon or two of water (or rum) at a time. 
I like 2 tablespoons of rum here, but if that sounds like too much, you can just do one and use water for the other tablespoon. 
You don’t have to add the salt, but I find it helps balance the sweetness of the confectioners’ sugar. 
 
  • Reply
    Elizabeth Felix
    Saturday, January 8, 2022 at 2:06 pm

    5 stars
    First time pan banging! Husband “what’s going on in there?” Me “Oh, just pan banging cookies”. I didn’t get to make annual gingerbread cookies this year and needed a ginger molasses fix, hit the spot right on, more delicious than ever expected. My daughter is not a fan of a spice cookie but loved them! I did add a pinch of nutmeg just cause. Otherwise followed recipe and pan banging instructions exactly as written. Next up, pan banging chocolate chip ones you are most famous for. Thanks again for an awesome recipe!

  • Reply
    Julie
    Saturday, December 18, 2021 at 8:17 pm

    5 stars
    So I just made these and they’re PERFECT! Wanted to bake ahead a few days and wondered – better to keep dough in fridge and bake to serve or bake ahead and put in fridge/freeze?

  • Reply
    Audrey
    Friday, December 17, 2021 at 5:14 pm

    3 stars
    I made these and followed the recipe exactly and underbaked but they were almost too chewy. If you prefer a heavily spiced cookie, these are on the lighter side. They also were a bit greasy.

  • Reply
    Kim
    Thursday, December 16, 2021 at 9:38 pm

    5 stars
    Can. Not. Stop. Eating! These cookies are the BEST! I’m gluten free so I just subbed Bob’s Red Mill GF 1:1 baking flour for the AP flour and it worked perfectly! Make them NOW

  • Reply
    Jay Cutia
    Tuesday, September 28, 2021 at 8:00 am

    5 stars
    This recipe is EVERYTHING! Don’t walk to the kitchen…RUN and make this ASAP.

  • Reply
    Ciara Ackerman
    Monday, September 27, 2021 at 10:32 pm

    5 stars
    These are the perfect fall treat. The perfect ginger/molasses ratio and the pan banging method gives these cookies the most incredible chewy texture. So delicious!

  • Reply
    MK
    Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 8:53 pm

    5 stars
    Got your 100 cookie book and made these. Mine turned out a bit darker but these are my new favorite, they are absolutely delicious, thank you!!!

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    Friday, December 25, 2020 at 8:34 pm

    I figured it out and they were absolutely amazing!

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    Thursday, December 24, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    Why does the sugar weigh more than the flour when it’s half a cup less? I’m confused!

    • Reply
      Carroll
      Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 11:12 am

      Recipe not done by weight.

  • Reply
    Dragana
    Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 9:23 pm

    These are the most perfect holiday season treat: a breeze to make, and delicious, spiced cookies in no time. I love soft, chewy, and under baked cookies, and these were perfect for me – but they were perfect for my dad who like a crisp cookie, too! These would definitely be a crowd pleaser at a holiday party (once those are allowed again), and could be made smaller to have a larger yield. I made the recipe as written and am interested in adding some crystalized ginger next time per Jane’s comment above! Can’t go wrong 🙂

  • Reply
    Carol
    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 10:55 am

    The first pan is cooling and the second is half baked. Followed the recipe and method completely and they look amazing. The house smells like Christmas. Can’t wait much longer for the taste test!

  • Reply
    AK
    Tuesday, December 15, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    I just made these after a different recipe left me disappointed and thinking that maybe i don’t like ginger molasses cookies after all – WOW they are so beautiful, exactly how I hoped they’d taste, and the texture is PERFECT!!! Crispy on the edges with a soft, chewy center. Thank you! I am a bit of a rookie baker though so I’d recommend clarifying that one should use softened butter before mixing. I may have killed my hand mixer by using cold butter lol!

  • Reply
    Jess
    Sunday, December 13, 2020 at 9:44 am

    I followed Jane’s modifications and the results are amazing. Thanks for this recipe. I love it and so does everyone who tastes these.

  • Reply
    Rose
    Friday, December 11, 2020 at 8:11 pm

    Very happy to have found this recipe. Or did it find me? It’s for anyone that loves the traditional ginger cookie but wants a chewy, life-changing experience. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Katherine
    Saturday, October 24, 2020 at 8:44 am

    I made these cookies and they are wonderful!!! They have so many warm spices. My family ate them all within a day.

  • Reply
    Katie
    Friday, September 25, 2020 at 10:43 am

    These were excellent. Followed the recipe completely and no issues at all. Mine are much darker – could only find “cooking molasses” which I presume are not “mild.” Big hit on my cookie page @katies_kookies !

  • Reply
    India
    Saturday, May 2, 2020 at 9:40 pm

    Just made these with gluten free cup for cup flour and they turned out so well ! Were a big hit and tasted amazing. Definitely going to make them again soon.

  • Reply
    Keisha
    Thursday, April 9, 2020 at 11:02 am

    Yes, these cookies and the technique looks awesome. I want to try these. Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe and yes to the cookie chronicles. ?

  • Reply
    Jane
    Sunday, March 8, 2020 at 12:26 pm

    I’ve been searching for a way to duplicate my Mom’s Molasses Cookie recipe as she passed a number of years ago and it was the one recipe of hers that I couldn’t find.
    This recipe duplicated the chewiness and crispy edges that resembled hers. I updated with some other changes (that would have been way too strong for her tastes).
    My alterations:
    Decrease: to 1 1/4 cup sugar
    Increase: to 4 TBSP Organic Blackstrap Molasses

    Add: 1/4 cup minced (or food processed) crystalized ginger
    grated fresh ginger 1-2 teaspoons

    I do not care for the current trend of overly huge cookies. I dropped the batter in rounded teaspoonfuls, 12 cookies to a cookie sheet. (Made 27 cookies total).
    The amount of flour needed and liquid amounts reduced to make roll-able cookies detracts from the chewy intensity. I also did not use any added sugar when I baked them. The batter will spread necessitating cutting them with the edge of the spatula when you remove them from the pan.

    The added ginger makes for a strong ginger bite in each cookie, something I wanted. Do not use the extra ginger (crystalized and fresh) if your preference is towards mild flavors.

    Do NOT over bake these cookies. The centers should almost feel uncooked while the edges are crisp and chewy. Pan banging really works!

    Observation/Opinion: The comparisons to commercially make cookies bothers me. A pattern or history of depending on store bought cookies means growing accustomed to overly hard, overly baked, overly floured products and seeing them as “normal”. Commercial cookies require a very long shelf life. The whole point of home made cookies is to make something not intended to sit on shelves for months or even years.

  • Reply
    Caroline
    Friday, March 8, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    Followed the recipe and they are yummy but didn’t get any ripples.. had ripple success when I did the chocolate chip version so not sure what happened.

  • Reply
    Joan
    Wednesday, January 2, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    Amazing cookies, came out perfect!

  • Reply
    Katherine Ostrich
    Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    These are wonderful, thank you! Went down a treat at work

  • Reply
    yolanda
    Saturday, January 20, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    I didn’t have molasses so used date syrup instead. so yummy

  • Reply
    amberette
    Saturday, December 30, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Made a vegan version of these last night with aquafaba ‘egg’, vegan butter and coconut sugar. I left them plain instead of rolling in sugar. The wrinkles wouldn’t form but I did get virtually perfect Swedish ginger wafers – SO thin and delicious flavor so, Thanks! Will definitely be making again and may try with black cocoa powder to see if I can get the chocolate wafers for wafer cake, cause these would be perfect for that!

  • Reply
    Elisa
    Wednesday, December 27, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    Hi, do you have any recommendations for the measurement of substituting for whole wheat flour?

  • Reply
    Sam in St Paul
    Saturday, December 23, 2017 at 11:25 am

    Can these be made with rice flour (gluten-free)?

  • Reply
    Amanda
    Friday, December 22, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    I have made four batches of your pan-banged chocolate chip cookies since I found out about them about a month ago, so I was so excited to try the ginger molasses. LOVE THEM! I couldn’t get as many ripples, but they still taste amazing! Perfect for Chiristmas!!

  • Reply
    Melissa
    Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    I made these last night and they are SO, SO good! I’ve been on a big ginger/molasses kick lately, and these are at the top of my list of favorites!

  • Reply
    Karthiga Emmanual
    Thursday, December 14, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    How many does this recipe make? I really want to make it for a Christmas party 🙂

  • Reply
    Grace
    Thursday, December 14, 2017 at 6:22 am

    Genius recipe again! Made these tonight and they were amazing – crispy edges, chewy centres, wrinkled surfaces and ridiculously tasty.

    This’ll be my go-to recipe this Christmas I think, thank you Sarah!

  • Reply
    Diane
    Thursday, December 14, 2017 at 12:42 am

    These look SO GOOD and totally something I would make! Pinning and trying soon, thanks Tonia!

  • Reply
    Brian @ A Thought For Food
    Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    Oh my goodness, I have to make these ASAP!

  • Reply
    Jessica
    Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    These look amazing! I would love to make them for my whole family as a holiday sweet, but I have family members with egg allergies. I know there are a lot of egg substitutions that can be used in baked goods like apple sauce of flax-egg, but do you have an egg substitution that you would recommend for this recipe in particular?

    • Reply
      gfy
      Friday, December 29, 2017 at 1:48 pm

      I’ve been using aquafaba, the liquid from a can of chickpeas with perfect success. Vast improvement over the flax egg…Use a shy 1/4 cup of liquid for each egg. Works amazingly well.

  • Reply
    Shannon Loveless
    Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Love your recipes, your book and how you have made your start in the baking world. Super inspiring. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Mallory
    Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    I have emailed this recipe to several friends already and can’t wait to bake them this weekend. Merry Christmas!

  • Reply
    Jessica G
    Sunday, December 10, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    Loved the cookies! So perfectly chewy although I couldn’t get the ripples all that much. Do you use a heavy or light tray? Or do you have any tips on how to ensure the ripples? Thanks for a great recipe!!

  • Reply
    Lianna
    Sunday, December 10, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    I made these exactly as written – they are amazing!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      Sunday, December 10, 2017 at 5:52 pm

      Oh, thanks so much for letting me know!! I’m so glad you like them.

  • Reply
    Sara @ Cake Over Steak
    Sunday, December 10, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    Very excited! These sound like perfection.

  • Reply
    Kelsey @ Appeasing a Food Geek
    Sunday, December 10, 2017 at 10:21 am

    YES! It’s finally here! On the baking list to be made ASAP. 🙂

  • Reply
    fatimah
    Sunday, December 10, 2017 at 8:55 am

    amazing!! i actually made a ginger cookie and tried it with your pan banging technique i didn’t get ripples like these but now i can try yours, yay! x

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