Ginger Shortbread with Molasses – A Holiday Classic with a Twist

Servings: 2 dozen serving(s)

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Take me to the recipe

Buttery and beautifully spiced, these ginger shortbread with molasses cookies add the beautify of simplicity to your holiday cookie plate.Ginger shortbread with molasses

Ever since I was a kid one of my favourite holiday treats has been my mom’s ginger shortbread squares. Soft, buttery and loaded with candied and ground ginger they are the first thing I look for on a plate of Christmas cookies at my mom’s.

I never believed that they could be improved upon until I came across this recipe for ginger shortbread with molasses. Adding a bit of molasses and a few more spices to a classic shortbread cookie makes them taste unmistakably like Christmas.

The simplicity of ginger shortbread with molasses stands out amidst all of the over-the-top cookies and squares that are often popular at cookie swaps. They may not look as snazzy as say, triple layer marshmallow snicker-doodle squares, but they are distinct in their own quiet way.

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”

― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Not that a cookie can’t really teach life’s great moral lessons, but I do believe that simplicity is key to the true substance of the holidays.

Ditto for cookies.

As with any shortbread cookie, I prefer to use my hands to pull the dough together after the butter has been cut in. That way the dough doesn’t get over mixed.

Ginger Shortbread Cookies with Molasses Tips:

One reader made the following changes tot he recipe, with great success: Double the powdered ginger and add some freshly grated ginger.

Ginger shortbread with molasses

Adapted from Threadbare Bakery blog

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves (optional)
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • ¼ cup Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup diced (finely) candied ginger
  • granulated sugar for sprinkling
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Combine flour, powdered sugar, and spices in a large bowl.
  2. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or your fingers, until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
  3. With a fork or your hands mix in the molasses and candied ginger. Knead until mixture forms a ball and divide in half.
  4. Roll ¼ to ½” thick and cut into shapes.
  5. Prick with the tines of a fork, brush with a little milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until bottoms just start to turn golden brown (be careful not to overcook)

The dough will look crumbly like this, but keep working it (I use my fingers):

Before you know it your dough will come together, like this:

You can roll it out immediately or pat it into tidy packages and refrigerate:

One more thing…
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32 thoughts on “Ginger Shortbread with Molasses – A Holiday Classic with a Twist

  1. Irma Isnor says:

    Crosby’s molasses has been used by my family for many years.When I lived in Halifax 23 years ago I was using it then too.Crispy gingersnaps, and sugared ginger cookies were two of my boys favorite cookies. I was using Crosby’s molasses way back. In wartime, Mom used to bake war cake with Crosby’s molasses. Great product-2 containers sitting on a kitchen shelf right now. I will try your molasses shortbread. Thanks for the recipe.Now I am baking for my grandson.

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Irma, I love that you’re continuing the molasses tradition with your grandson. I hope that you enjoy the shortbread.

      1. Shirley Cullen says:

        With the holidays getting close again I’m always in the mood to bake …A little old fashion in some recipes ; simply because some recipes are just that good. A soft molasses cookie is a favourite . Making molasses bread with raisins is right up there too , over 24 loaves and rolls made already ( by hand ) and looking at making more . Love molasses and always will . Merry Christmas to you and yours ! And A Happy New Year for 2016 :)
        From a women who’s grateful that some things don’t need to change .

        1. Thanks Shirley. Like you I love the old fashioned recipes the best. They’re simple and comforting and make such meaningful gifts. Merry Christmas to you as well!

  2. Carol says:

    Hi, I just made the Molasses shortbread cookies and they are just wonderful. I will share this with everyone that i know. My mom has one of the Crosbys molasses cookbooks from when I was a child. This book must be atleast 40 or 50 yrs old and she still uses it even though it is worn out.

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Carol, I’m so pleased that you like the molasses shortbread. And I love that your mom still uses her old Crosby’s cookbook. Would you like us to send her a new one? If yes, just email me with her mailing address (bridget.oland@crosbys.com).

  3. Glory says:

    My two most favorite cookies in one recipe! This is definitely going into my Christmas baking collection. I can’t wait to make these! Oh, and I would be interested in a cookbook as well. Where could I find one? ~ Glory

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Glory – Just email me with your mailing address and we’ll send you a cookbook. I’m at bridget.oland@crosbys.com

  4. Ann Brennan says:

    would love your cookbook.i have a old crosby cookbook that is over 40 yrs old. love baking and cooking with mollasses. thank you. 47 Steels Hill Road
    Glace Bay
    Nova Scotia
    B1A 2V7

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Ann,
      We’d be happy to mail you a copy of our Family Favourites cookbook. You should receive it within a couple of weeks.

  5. Patrticia Boucher says:

    Hi, I would also love to receive a copy of your cookbook. I have tried a few of your recipes and I love what I have tried so far. I am anxious to try these Molasses Shortbread Cookies. My address is:
    457 McLellan Ave
    Amherstburg, Ontario
    N9V 4E1
    Thank you.

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Patricia, We’d be happy to get a copy of our book in the mail to you. Enjoy!

  6. Misty says:

    Im going to try this recipe but try to make them using the whipped shortbread method! I love the flavours of gingerbread but find it a little hard and dry so this shoetbread version should be perfect

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Misty, I hope you enjoy the shortbread. It’s a treat to have the molasses flavour in a buttery cookie.

  7. karen mcgraw says:

    wow…great recipe….a lady had it posted on facebook and had to try it…….is it possible to have a cook book…..130 j godin street, saumarez N.B. e1x2k1……thanks

  8. tom mokry says:

    Hi,
    I’d like to get a cookbook.
    Thank you & Merry Christmas !
    Tom

    203 Enfield Cres
    Winnipeg, Mb.
    Canada
    R2H 1B2

  9. Cynthia Casey says:

    Hi, I would also like to have a copy of the cookbook. I love baking for my grandchildren. Thank you so much! Cynthia Casey, 155 Macedonia Rd, Petal, MS 39465

    1. Linda McKinnon says:

      Hi, I would like a copy of your cookbook pls, my son grandmother used to make these cookies, love them.

      1. Hi Linda, We’d be happy to mail you a copy of our printed cookbook. Just email your mailing address to be (bridget.oland@crosbys.com). Thanks.

  10. Will try baking with Crosby’s molasses for the first time using this recipe. Might I also receive a copy of your free cookbook?

    1. Hi Lynda, We’d be happy to mail you a copy of our cookbook. Just forward your mailing address to me (bridget.oland@crosbys.com). Thanks.

  11. Sue Munn says:

    I can,t wait to make these. growing up in a family of 13 children we ate a lot of molasses and also baked with it. I would so love to have a recipe book also.

  12. Debra Bledsoe says:

    Ready to make these and incorporate them in a peach truffle or some sort of peach desert. Can you imagine with home made peach ice cream?
    Would love a cookbook…how can I get one? Thank you for this recipe!

    1. Hi Debra, Some fort of peach dessert with these ginger shortbread cookies sounds wonderful. We’d be happy to mail you a copy of our cookbook. In the meantime, please let me know if you make one of your peach ideas.

  13. Sadie says:

    These are very good! They’re not much to look at but the taste makes up for their simplicity. I was skeptical that 1/4 cup of molasses may make them more chewy than a traditional shortbread, but they were nice and crunchy. I used a 2″ biscuit cutter, rolled the dough 1/4″ thick, and baked them for 17 minutes until they were firm when gently pressed in the centre. I doubled the spices and didn’t find them overwhelming. The taste improves as the cookies age and the butter mellows.

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Sadie, Thanks for all of the suggestions. Now I’m tempted to double the spices.

  14. Cheryl says:

    Is there a significant difference between fancy molasses & cooking molasses? I used crosbys cooking molasses for these and found the cookies a tiny bit on the bitter side.. love the idea of combining gingerbread flavour in a shortbread style cookie though! Would I also be able to get your cook book?

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Cheryl, There is quite a difference between fancy and cooking molasses. Coking molasses is 30% fancy and 70% blackstrap molasses so very robust and on the bitter side. If you don’t have fancy molasses (and would like to make the recipe again) you could just add 1-2 Tbsp. of cooking molasses. Also, we’d love to mail you a cookbook. Just forward your mailing address to me: bridget.oland@crosbys.com

  15. Bobbet Hobbs says:

    This recipe is amazing! I made this recipe but doubled the spices and added some fresh drained grated ginger. My husband took them elk hunting and sent me a msg via his satellite phone that the guys wanted more cookies.
    I would love to get a recipe book. I would love to gift one to my mom as she tried to explain to me how she used Crosby’s while they were growing up but it was only for a special treat because they were on a shoe string budget with 6 kids.
    If able, my address is 3893 Sunnyside Rd, Sandpoint, Idaho 83864

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Bobbet, Thanks for the suggestions. More ginger, and fresh ginger, sound great. I’ll be sure to add your suggestions to the recipe. We’d be happy to send you a copy of our current cookbook, Everyday Favourites.

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