Ginger molasses cookies with rum glaze

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These ginger molasses cookies are delicious – I had one for breakfast this morning, and for snack yesterday, and for dessert the night before…I think you’re getting the picture here. 

But I have to admit these cookies aren’t quite what I intended. 

Rum glaze drizzles from a whisk onto a cookie which is sitting on a glazing rack - the whole rack is full of unglazed cookies. The glaze has splashed onto the cookie next door

They were supposed to be Dark and Stormy cookies – sparkling heat from candied ginger and rich sweetness from molasses and spice, balanced by the tingly brightness of lime zest and punch of rum in the glaze. 

I never got the lime to work, the ginger bounced back and forth between too much and not enough, and the molasses had a nasty habit of getting out of control and overwhelming all the subtlety I was trying to build. 

But, if I’m honest, I didn’t try that hard to fix any of that – I like the cookie I ended up with too much. 

I like that the molasses and ginger are perfectly balanced, not too spicy nor too sweet. I like the subtle complexity of the spices and citrus zest. I like the chewy texture, with occasional pops of crunchy ginger bits or caramelized edges. And I really like the drizzly randomness of the glaze, and the tiniest tickle of spiced rum you get as it melts on your tongue. 

A stack of cookies on top of a piece of crinkled brown paper. One of the cookies has been broken in half and is leaning on the stack. The whole scene is surrounded by greenery.

Most of all, I like that I let this recipe become the ginger molasses cookie it is, and not the Dark and Stormy cookie I wanted it to be. 

Two ginger molasses cookies sit on a set of stacked plates. One has been broken in half, and a bite has clearly been taken from one of the halves. There is a glass of milk and some holiday lights in the background.

Ginger molasses cookies with rum glaze


Time: about 30 minutes     Yield: about a dozen     Source: The Eighth Street Mess

Do not be afraid of the shortening in these cookies. I know it’s unusual (especially for me), but I didn’t want the flavor of butter muddying everything else that’s going on. 

Also, you absolutely don’t have to, but I strongly recommend making your own candied ginger for this recipe. It’s not any better or worse than the jarred stuff, but you do end up with a whole bunch of strongly ginger-flavored sugar, which is perfect to roll the cookies in before baking. My favorite recipe for candied ginger is from Alton Brown, and you can find it in the gift guide I published last week!

For the cookies:

  • 184 grams (1.5 cups) AP flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch ground clove
  • Pinch ground allspice
  • Pinch black pepper
  • Pinch ground cardamom
  • 147 grams (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons lime zest (about 2 limes), finely grated
  • 1/2 tablespoon orange zest (about half an orange), finely grated
  • 92 grams (1/2 cup) vegetable shortening
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 teaspoon spiced rum
  • 31 grams (1 tablespoon) molasses
  • 38 grams (1/4 cup) finely chopped candied ginger
  • Granulated or ginger sugar for rolling 

For the glaze

  • 109 grams (1 cup) powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons spiced rum

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the granulated sugar, lime zest and orange zest with the paddle attachment until the whole thing is very fragrant and the sugar is starting to clump together like damp sand. If this isn’t working well for you, stop the mixer and rub the zest into the sugar with your fingers. Add the shortening and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, scraping down the sides occasionally to make sure no sugar gets stuck at the bottom of the bowl.

Add the egg, vanilla, and molasses and beat until well combined, scraping down the bowl as needed. 

Add the flour-and-spice mix, then mix on low speed (please, I know it’s the holidays but nobody likes flour snow all over their kitchen) until only a few dry spots remain. Add the candied ginger and mix until the ginger is well incorporated and no dry flour remains. 

Scoop the ginger molasses cookie dough into roughly two-tablespoon-sized balls. I use a #30 scoop for this, but you could use a two-tablespoon coffee scoop or just eyeball it – unless you’re persnickety about evenness it doesn’t matter too much. Roll each ball in granulated sugar (or ginger sugar, if you have it), and spaced about two inches apart on parchment-lined sheet trays. 

Bake until the cookies are golden around the edges but still a bit soft in the middle, 10-13 minutes, with a rotation halfway through baking. Cool completely.

While the cookies are baking, make the rum glaze. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and spiced rum until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cookies and allow to set. 

The ginger molasses cookies should keep about a week at room temperature in an airtight container, or, unglazed in the freezer for up to three months. 

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Jessi Spell

A culinary degree and two years of professional experience has not stopped Jessi from making stupid mistakes – she just makes them more efficiently. She habitually reads cookbooks before bed, loses track of time on Wikipedia, and yells at cooking shows like dads watching football. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Jackson, five plants, and more cookbooks than a 600 square foot studio should hold.


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