Vegan Molasses Cookies
by Meghan Rodgers
December 8, 2020
Soft. Crispy. Chewy. Gingery.
What else could you want from a cookie? They’re the best combination of cookie qualities I can think of!
Molasses cookies have been my all-time favorite for as long as I can remember. They remind me of Christmas, of course, because that’s when normal people make them, but in my family, my dad and grandma kept them baked and stocked all year-long. Tins piled to the top with perfectly round, crackled, irresistible molasses cookies. You could say we have an obsession.
This vegan molasses cookie recipe has just the right about of spice. The cookies are chewy in the center and crispy on the edges. It’s a molasses cookie-lovers dream.
Of course, most baking isn’t very vegan-friendly. Recipes are usually all about the eggs and the butter. My family’s original recipe was no different. It called for one egg and regular sugar. I tinkered with it a bit and made a few small adjustments to make the recipe vegan, without sacrificing the chewy texture or compromising the big, bold flavor.
But what’s that about sugar? It’s not vegan?
Many white sugars are filtered through bone char, often referred to as natural carbon, to aid sugar in achieving its bright white color. Bone char is made from the bones of slaughtered cattle, definitely disqualifying any processed sugar as vegan.
Brown sugar is most often made by taking white sugar and adding molasses back in for color, so it too doesn’t qualify for a vegan diet.
The good news is that there are lots of vegan sugar options. Look for any sugar labeled organic, as Certified U.S. Department of Agriculture organic sugars cannot be filtered through bone char. Also, beet and coconut sugar are vegan and never processed with bone char.
A few of my favorite brands are In the Raw, Wholesome!, and Imperial Sugar, but PETA has a long list of bone char-free sugars. Rule of thumb: Look for sugars that say coconut, beet, or “unrefined” and you should be good.
Pro tips: Dough will be sticky, but resist the urge to add more flour or refrigerate — in either case, your cookies won’t spread quite right.
These Vegan Molasses Cookies freeze well. Either freeze the finished cookies (make sure to wrap them tight to lock in moisture and avoid frost bite) or freeze the dough to roll and bake later. These cookies also ship well, so make a big batch and send off to all your loved ones this holiday season.
Vegan Molasses Cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1 1/4 tsp cloves
1 tsp salt
2/3 cups vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups vegan sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp molasses
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp almond milk or water
Vegan sugar for coating and more for sprinkling on top
Cookies will keep about 4-5 days.
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with silicone mat and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt until well-combined.
In a separate bowl, mix together the vegetable shortening, sugar, molasses, and milk by hand until sugar is mostly dissolved. Mixture will be sticky, so carefully add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Carefully mix until the flour mixture has been fully incorporated.
Use a cookie scoop to help form dough balls. If not, a regular spoon will assist fine. Roll dough between palms to form balls. Rolls in vegan sugar to coat and place on prepared cookie sheet. (Dough will be sticky, but that helps them flatten and get chewy.)
Bake at 350ºF for about 9-11 minutes or until edges are golden brown and centers appear cracked. Careful not to over-bake or cookies will harden and become dunkers only! Allow cookies to cool fully before moving or cookies will easily tear. Sprinkle with a bit more sugar once cookies come out of the oven.