24 molasses recipes, from expected classics to sweet surprises

Empty those sticky jars of molasses for pfeffernuse, gingerbread, and pudding

Published January 9, 2022 6:59PM (EST)

 (Kristen Miglore / Food52)
(Kristen Miglore / Food52)

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Molasses is an ingredient that keeps on giving. No matter how carefully you think you've scraped out the jar, try turning it upright and returning a day later — you'll see yet another 1/4 cup has accumulated. It's endless breadsticks, molasses-edition. Here, we're embracing it in two dozen different recipes. Most of these recipes satisfy one's sweet tooth in the form of cakey sandwich cookies, Bundt cakes, and bars, but the holidays are all about giving, so we're also delivering a few savory recipes that may catch you by surprise.

1. Ginger Spiced Dark Molasses Sugar Cookies

"These cookies are spicy, sweet and rich with molasses. Take care not to overbake the cookie and you will have a chewy center that will melt in your mouth. For added spice and bite, add diced candied ginger to the batter," writes recipe developer TasteFood.

2. Gingerbread Cookies

Before we get into the recipes that make you say, "I didn't know I could use molasses for that," we have to talk about gingerbread cookies. You know them and you love them, but Ella Quittner has developed this recipe using a bevy of spices that she says offer "maximum coziness."

3. The Gingeriest Gingerbread

What does it take to create what food editor Emma Laperruque has dubbed the gingeriest gingerbread? One cup of really strong ginger beer (the good kind), two tablespoons of freshly grated ginger, and ¼ cup of ground ginger. That should do the trick, right?

4. Triple-Ginger Chocolate Chunk Cookies

When I worked for Martha Stewart, these chocolate-ginger cookies from former food editor Susan Spungen were the stuff of legend. They're like the very best chocolate chunk cookie and the very best gingerbread cookie all rolled up into one sugar-coated treat.

5. Gooey Gingerbread S'mores Bars

Missing the smoky-sweet flavor of the beloved summertime campfire treat? The base is a classic gingerbread bar, topped with chocolate and marshmallows, which melt as the bars bake in the oven.

6. Rose Levy Beranbaum's Molasses Sugar Butter Cookies

The queen of cookies (and really, all things baking), these molasses cookies from Rose Levy Beranbaum have the perfect texture: a little chewy and a little crunchy, with plenty of nutty spiced flavor to boot. 

7. Demon Cake

Our editors call this "a dense, heavily spiced, gingered cake, sweetened with dark, treacly molasses and apples. Not for the faint of heart (though the title could tell you as much); serious ginger and gingerbread lovers will rejoice, however."

8. Extra Oat-y Oatmeal Cream Pies

The reason why we love molasses so much is that it delivers both good flavor and great texture; these sandwich cookies are proof of its magic.

9. Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

The first ingredient will make you do a double-take: mayonnaise. Trust us (and trust recipe developer Kristina Vanni), it works, producing a denser, moister crumb. 

10. Fresh Ginger Cake from Sylvia Thompson

Light molasses and four warm ground spices — white pepper, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger — deliver festive flavor in every bite of this sponge-like cake.

11. Kim-Joy's Ginger, Pecan, and Salted Caramel Cake

"The ginger flavor of this cake comes from both ground ginger and stem ginger, so there is a strong ginger undercurrent, and as a bonus you occasionally get a burst from a chunk of stem ginger. The pecans and salted caramel complement it perfectly — you will definitely want to go back for seconds," writes recipe developer and Great British Bake-Off alum Kim-Joy.

12. Cornmeal Molasses Rolls

Upgrade the bread basket at dinner any night of the week with these richer, sweeter rolls.

13. Grandma Bohlmann's Pfeffernusse

So many people havea recipe that reminds them of their grandmother's cooking. For me, it's corn casserole and chocolate layer cake, but for recipe developer Mary Beth, it's these bite-sized spice cookies.

14. Monkey (Ginger)Bread

Not too sweet and not too spicy, this cake can totally be enjoyed early in the morning with a cup of coffee. In fact, it was voted your all-time favorite holiday breakfast recipe. 

15. 5-Ingredient Molasses Cookie

It quite literally doesn't get easier than this gluten-free cookie recipe.

16. Star Anise Milk

You only need three ingredients — whole milk, molasses, and star anise — to make a cup of this warming milk that's touted for its anti-inflammatory benefits.

17. Brandy Snaps

These fragile-filled cookies are perfect for wrapping up and handing out during the holiday season, due in part to their molasses and ginger dough.

18. Wet Bottom Shoofly Pie

I have had a 15-year-long love affair with shoofly pie since I first tried it on a family trip to Lancaster County. I only eat it occasionally but when I do, it's my favorite type of pie. I don't know why I don't eat it more frequently, but this recipe is about to change that for me.

19. Blackbird's Bread

Four and Twenty Blackbirds is a Brooklyn-based pie shop known for their (you guessed it!) pies. Salted Caramel Apple and Chess Pie top the list of their ridiculously popular flavors, but one underrated treat is this nutty molasses quick bread, which we got the recipe for.

20. Salty Butterscotch Whoopie Pies

A little bit of molasses is used for the soft cookie part of these whoopie pies — and then a little bit more is used for the salty, creamy filling because, why not?

21. Vegan Dark Chocolate-Gingerbread Thumbprint Cookies

Who knew that Karlie Kloss — supermodel, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and champion of STEM programs for young girls — was also a superstar baker? These gingerbread cookies, filled with lightly sweetened chocolate ganache, are inspired by her popular recipe.

22. Gingerbread Ice Cream

If you have a hard time wrapping your head around a scoop of the cool treat during one of the coldest months of the year, this festive gingery ice cream should help. 

23. ​​3-Tiered Gingerbread Bundt Cake with Eggnog Glaze and Candied Cranberries

For an absolute showstopper Christmas dessert, look no further than this soft and spiced gingerbread pound cake dripping with an eggnog glaze and sprinkled with tart candied cranberries.

24. Peanut Butter Cream Pie

You wouldn't think of peanut butter and molasses as a natural pairing but hey, opposites attract. Just ¼ cup is mixed in with the peanut butter cream filling.

By Sarah Jampel

MORE FROM Sarah Jampel

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