Soft and chewy ginger cookies are exactly what they sound like: complete holiday perfection in a cookie. These are one of my favourites every year, and it’s why I’m kicking off the holiday cookie posts this year with them. On top of the fact that they’re freaking delicious, they’re also one of the easiest cookies I make!
Every year I want to share the Christmas cookies that have become staples in our house, but the same thing always happens. Bo and the kids get ahold of those cookie tins, and before I can even get the camera set up they’re gone. Not last year though – last year I had a plan.
I put on my best Mom face, read everyone the riot act, banished them to the couch, and set-up for pictures. It’s why you’re going to notice over the coming weeks that all the cookie posts have the same background. It was a marathon session of pictures, one after the other. As soon as I finished shooting one, the four animals sitting on the couch grabbed the tins and were never heard from again. Actually, they just weren’t heard from until they ran out of cookies, lol!
Soft and Chewy Ginger Cookies
These soft and chewy ginger cookies are not gingerbread. The flavour definitely has some similarities, but the texture is completely different. The edges of these cookies get a slight, caramel-y crispness, while the center puffs up and stays soft and chewy on the inside. They aren’t fluffy or cake-like at all. They’re the kind of cookie that has an actual chew to it, they don’t just dissolve in your mouth as soon as you bite into them.
These are also one of the easiest Christmas cookies I make. A cookie scoop is the key to that speed though. I absolutely hate rolling cookies into balls by hand. Or meatballs. I guess really anything that you have to roll by hand, I’m not a fan of. If you don’t have a cookie scoop, just scoop them out with a heaping tablespoon to get the same amount.
The Cookie Press
My absolute favourite part about making these soft and chewy ginger cookies though: getting to use my cookie presses. I saw these Nordicware Heirloom Cookie Presses used on another blog years ago and I HAD to have them. It makes the cookies just look so completly gorgeous with next to no work at all.
Any cookie press you have at home works great, but don’t feel like you have to. You can just as easily dip the bottom of a glass into some sugar and use that to press down on the cookies. If you have a glass with a decorative bottom (my Nana used to do this all the time), use that and you’ll get just as pretty of a pattern on them.
How long do they keep?
The million dollar question right? How far in advance can I make these, and how long do they keep. These are one of the last cookies I make for Christmas. Partly because they’re so easy, and the closer I’m getting to the holidays, the more pressed for time I am. Also though, you want them to be nice and soft and chewy.
Try to make them no more than a day or two before you want to start eating them. Living in Canada, our winters are COLD. I keep all of my Christmas cookies in big tupperware containers in the garage, and they’ll keep and stay chewy like that for at least a week. Honestly though, it’s rare for these ones to last that long. I’m usually making a second batch of them between Christmas Day and New Years Eve.
More Easy Holiday Cookies
If you’re looking for some other easy holiday cookies to make this year, definitely check these ones out.
These pecan sandies are some of my favorite cookies: full of toasty pecan pieces with a crisp edge and slightly chewy center, they just melt in your mouth. When I was a kid my great-grandma always had a box of these in her cupboard, so biting into one of them is like biting into my childhood.
Lemon Madeleines are a new staple in our house. You’ve got to plan just a little bit ahead for them – the dough should be made a day or two before, then stored in the fridge. After that though, they’re super quick to bake and enjoy the day you want them. Be warned though, these will go quick!
Kick up that flavour!
In the recipe card, you’ll notice a few options to add a different liquid to the cookie dough. I know it’s only one tablespoon that we’re talking about, but that small amount really can change the flavour for you. If you want just a straightforward soft and chewy ginger cookie, feel free to stick with water.
I love using orange juice. It really makes the molasses and ginger flavours pop out at you, without screaming there’s orange in here. If you want a bit more of a grown-up flavour to them, swap it with some orange liqueur, grand marnier, or spiced rum. I mean, nothing screams the holidays like a boozy flavoured cookie!
Soft and Chewy Ginger Cookie Recipe
Hope you love these cookies just as much as we do, make sure you let me know in the comments. Don’t forget to pin them for later too!
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup white sugar, plus 1/2 cup more for rolling and sprinkling
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon orange juice (see notes for other options )
- 1/4 cup molasses
Preheat your oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position (or use your convection setting to bake both trays at once). Line two cookie sheets with silpat mats or parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until it is fluffy and a pale yellow colour, 3-4 minutes.
Beat in the egg, followed by the orange juice and molasses.
Mix in the flour mixture on low speed until just combined, and there are no dry patches of flour visible.
Put the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl. Use a small cookie scoop to make 1" balls of cookie dough. Roll the balls in sugar, and then place them 2" apart on your prepared baking sheets.
Lightly press the cookies down until they are about 1/4" thick. You can use the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar to do this, but I love to use these pretty cookie presses. Sprinkle the tops with a bit more white sugar.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the centers are puffed and the edges are just starting to lightly brown. Let them cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before you move them to a wire rack.
Orange Juice Substitutions
The orange juice is really optional, and using water is completely fine. I just like the extra complexity that the orange juice adds to the flavour profile of the cookies. You'll bite into them and know there's something extra in there, but won't quite be able to put your finger on it. You could also experiment with some orange liqueur, grand marnier, or spiced rum and get excellent results with a more "grown up" flavour.