Recipe: Chewy Molasses Cookies with Crunchy Lemon Glaze

updated May 2, 2019
Chewy Molasses Cookies with Crunchy Lemon Glaze
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(Image credit: Faith Durand)

We’ve all been in eager cookie-baking mode this month! Why, just yesterday we had Rebekah’s warm, soft pumpkin spice cookies, and Megan’s review of these scrumptious oatmeal raisin cookies from Flour. Now, my own favorite fall cookie: Simple molasses cookies, chewy and spicy, with a light swirl of crunchy lemon glaze.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

I have a thing for molasses cookies. Well, anything with the dark flavor of molasses, really, riding that ragged edge of bitterness. But I especially love molasses treats when they are paired with a bright, tangy note of lemon. They set each other off so well, and this time of year, when citrus is reentering its season and the dark spices of the holidays begin to scent our kitchens — well, this is just what I want to bake.

I wish these photos could convey how soft and melting these cookies are. They aren’t the oily, sugary chewy cookies that often appear this time of year; I love those molasses crinkles too, but these are a little more wholesome-tasting. They also can be made very well with some whole wheat flour. These have some heft, and some chew, and they stay soft for days.

The glaze is a new one for me. I often make molasses cookies with a lemon filling. But that is a little more time-consuming, and with this recipe I wanted something simpler. I found this crunchy one at David Lebovitz’s blog, with his recipe for zucchini cake.

Zucchini Cake with Crunchy Lemon Glaze – From David Lebovitz

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

This glaze has a particular charm in that is not just made from fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar (Tangy! Fresh!) but it also has a dose of crunchy granulated sugar. So once the glaze hardens into a shell over the cookie, there is a double crunchiness of the sugar. It’s really yummy: Small, soft cookies, with an initial snap and tanginess of lemon and sugar, giving way to the melting softness of the cookie, and the last, lingering spiciness of fresh ginger and just a pinch of black pepper.

Yes, these are just what I want to eat this time of year.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Chewy Molasses Cookies with Crunchy Lemon Glaze

Makes 4 dozen cookies

Nutritional Info


For the molasses cookies:

  • 1 stick

    stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1/4 cup

    olive oil

  • 1/4 cup


  • 1 cup

    packed brown sugar

  • 1

    large egg

  • 1

    (2-inch) knob fresh ginger, finely grated and juices reserved

  • 2 1/4 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons

    baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon


  • 1/8 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • Granulated sugar, for rolling

For the lemon glaze:

  • 1 cup

    powdered sugar

  • 1/3 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup

    freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2 lemons)


Make the cookies:

  1. Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

  2. Place the butter, olive oil, molasses, and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer and large bowl.) Beat on medium speed until fluffy and lightened in color. Beat in the the egg until smooth. Beat in the fresh ginger and its juice.

  3. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, salt, and pepper. Beat on low speed until just combined. The dough will be quite soft. Cover and refrigerate the dough at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days.

  4. Pour about 1/2 cup of granulated sugar into a shallow bowl. Divide the dough into 4 portions. Divide the first part into 12 walnut-sized chunks, and roll each into a ball. Roll the ball lightly in the sugar, then place on the baking sheet. Repeat with the second portion of dough, placing the balls on the second baking sheet.

  5. Bake for 6 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets between racks and from front to back. Bake until set, about 6 minutes more. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire cooling racks and cool completely.

  6. Let the baking sheets cool, then repeat with remaining dough. While the remainder of the cookies cool, make the glaze.

Make the glaze:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Whisk the lemon juice together with the granulated and powdered sugars. Use immediately.

  2. Using a fork, drizzle the glaze over the cookies in a thin swirl, or paint it on with a pastry brush. Let sit until the glaze hardens.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The dough can also be transferred to a sheet of plastic wrap, wrapped completely, and frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw completely in the refrigerator before proceeding with the recipe.

Storage: Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Adapted from More-With-Less.