When I set out to compile a list of new (and old) holiday cookie recipes for my 12 Days of Dairy-Free Cookies over on Instagram, I knew I needed a ginger cookie of some sort. Last year, I made these Soft Ginger Molasses Cookies with coconut oil, but I’ve since fallen for the tase and texture that dairy-free (vegan) butter adds to a cookie dough! For this recipe, I adapted the cookies from last holiday season, swapping the coconut oil for vegan butter and adding a delicious (and perfectly festive!) orange icing. You can think of these as the easier version of those stamped and iced gingerbread cookies that are all over the internet. No special tools required!
The dough comes together like any other traditional cookie dough. You’ll cream the butter and sugar together, add molasses and egg, and then stir in the dry ingredients. The dough will be sticky. Too sticky to scoop or roll. But popping the dough in the refrigerator uncovered allows the dough to dry out and firm up just enough to get the dough balls rolled. I don’t recommend chilling the dough for any longer as the cookies might not spread!
Once your cookies are baked and cooled, you’ll make a simple icing flavored with a bit of vanilla extract and fresh orange zest. Then you’ll dip the tops of each cookie into the glaze, careful not to submerge the sides, allow the excess icing to drip off, and voila! You’ve got beautifully iced, totally delicious, soft ginger molasses cookies!
Some of the ingredients I like for this recipe:
Coconut sugar is my favorite, better-for-you sweetener. It’s low GI, unrefined, and tastes nothing like coconut. It makes a great 1:1 replacement for regular, high GI sugars like granulated sugar and brown sugar.
Molasses brings that seasonal taste we all know and love to these cookies. It also adds necessary moisture to keep these cookies nice and soft.
Egg adds moisture, fluff, and chewiness to these cookies. For a classic cookie texture, eggs are best.
- 1/2 cup vegan butter stick, softened
- 2/3 cup coconut sugar
- 3 Tbsp molasses
- 1 large egg, room temp
- 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 3-4 Tbsp granulated sugar for rolling (optional!)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3-5 tsp plant-based milk
- Zest from 1 medium orange
Make the Cookies
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Bring your egg to room temperature (if it's not already) by placing it in a glass of warm water for around 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, cream together the vegan butter and coconut sugar until fluffy. Beat in the molasses and then the egg; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add dry ingredients to wet and use a large wooden spoon or spatula to gently mix. The dough may seem dry when you begin mixing, but it will turn out quite sticky. Chill dough, uncovered, for 15 minutes - this helps dry it out a bit.
- Scoop six dough balls 1.5 Tbsp in size. Roll each dough ball and then roll in the granulated sugar (totally optional). Place on prepared baking sheet and flatten slightly. Bake at 350°F for 7 minutes or until cookies have puffed up.
- Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute before gently moving to a cooling rack. Continue baking the rest of your dough. There's no need to re-chill the dough. Be sure to use a room temp baking sheet each time - this is why two baking sheets are handy!
Make the Icing
- Once your cookies have totally cooled, you can make your icing. In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar, vanilla, and 3 tsp of the plant-based milk. Add milk 1 tsp at a time until you've reached a thin, drip-from-your-spoon consistency. Finally, stir in the fresh orange zest.
- Dip just the top of each cookie into the icing, allowing excess icing to drip off. This process is a bit tedious but necessary. Ideally, you want only the tops of the cookies iced, so be careful not to submerge the sides of the cookies while dipping. Turn each dipped cookie over and allow to set on a cooling rack.
- Once icing has set, you can store cookies in an airtight container at room temp, placing a piece of parchment paper between each layer to keep the cookies from sticking to each other.
- You won't use all of the icing, but it's nice to have the icing deep enough to dip (which is why I recommend mixing it in a small bowl!).
- Feel free to leave the icing off. These cookies, especially when rolled in granulated sugar, are delicious and sweet as-is. Alternatively, the granulated sugar can be left off the dough balls if you're icing the cookies. I chose to do both.