Twas the Night Before Christmas: Vegan Molasses Ginger Cookies

by Gena on December 24, 2010

My blog this week seems to have vacillated rather dramatically between the intimate and the edible. I wrote about my career change on Monday, parsnip spread on Tuesday, my fondness for the publishing world yesterday, and today I’m writing about cookies. Can’t say I don’t have range, right?

It’s Christmas eve, which means that many of you spent the nights working hard in your kitchens. I did, too–and I’ll have a vegan shepherd’s pie to share as a result in a day or too. But I first wanted to share a recipe that will be perfect for Santa’s late night munching this evening, or for the dessert spread tomorrow.

I’ve always been a huge fan of gingerbread, but not always a fan of gingerbread cookies: even if they flavors are good, they taste like cardboard to me. I much prefer their softer and more delectable cousins, molasses ginger cookies, which are soft, warm, and sweet.

The recipe below was my attempt at replicating them. In an effort to appease those (ahem, Mom) who like a crunchier cookie, I tried to make these a little less chewy than the normal variety. But they’re still a whole lot softer than gingerbread men and ladies, and spicier, too. Make them to please a crowd, to win over the hearts of nieces and nephews and other young friends, or as a gift for someone you love. No matter what, they’ll be appreciated.

Vegan Molasses Ginger Cookies (makes about 24 cookies)

1 c. brown sugar or sucanat
3/4 cup Earth Balance
1 tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 2 tbsp warm water and left to gel (a “flax egg”) or the egg replacer equivalent of one egg
1/4 c. unsulfured molasses
2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Granulated sugar

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together the Earth Balance and sugar till light and fluffy. Mix in the molasses and egg replacer.

2) Sift flour, baking soda and spices together. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until well incorporated (I used an electric mixer to beat the EB+sugar and to mix the dough, but you could definitely do it by hand).

3) When it’s all well incorporated, roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Working on a clean surface, flatten the balls against a sprinkling of granulated sugar, like so:

4) Place the flattened cookies 2 inches apart on parchment lined or nonstick cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until golden. Remove from cookie sheet and allow to cool.

Could anything look more festive than a plate of these guys in front of a lit tree?

I’m sure that all of us vegans are used to being asked what vegans eat on holidays, or being glanced at apologetically when the dessert plate rolls around. This year, have some bragging rights: bring these to your Christmas lunches and dinners tomorrow. Shock skeptics when you announce that they’re vegan, or don’t even bother mentioning it. Instead, watch and smile inwardly as your friends and family rank them among the best molasses ginger cookies they’ve eaten, and know that your edible gift to the people you love came without the expense of cruelty.

From my cozy little room at my mother’s cozy little apartment, I wish you all a wonderful Christmas eve and morning.


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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Mara @ What's For Dinner? December 25, 2010 at 2:14 am

Merry Christmas my friend!!!


Gena December 25, 2010 at 11:54 am

Same to you, dear one!


VeggieGirl December 25, 2010 at 2:21 am



FoodFeud December 25, 2010 at 9:40 am

Agreed: those crunchy cookies are only good as ornaments! Ginger and molasses is one of my favorite combinations too. So sparkly!


Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) December 25, 2010 at 9:46 am

Merry Xmas, Gena, to you and your family!

The cookies look wonderful and I can’t believe your mom wanted a crisper cookie. For me, chewy, doughy, and half raw is the way I like cookies :) I came up with a gingerbread dough ball that I really like.

I love how you said these have some spiciness to them! Yum. I love putting quite a bit of ginger in my ginger/molasses cookies. Growing up, I could eat my grandma’s ginger molasses cookies by the dozen. If she was still with us, I probably would :)

Great job on these. Because yes, what would a vegan eat otherwise at the holidays? (tongue-in-cheek per your last paragraph)

Hope Santa was good to you!!! xoxo


Gena December 25, 2010 at 11:54 am

Ha, I agree about chewy cookies! And merry Christmas, dear.


Evan Thomas December 25, 2010 at 10:54 am

Happy holidays, Gena! I bet Santa was plenty pleased with his cookies, especially if he got a glass of hemp milk to wash it all down :-)


Gena December 25, 2010 at 11:54 am

Merry Christmas, my friend :)


Leanne December 25, 2010 at 10:56 am

These cookies look fantastic. Stacked up beside gingerbread these would win me over for sure.

I completely agree with your last paragraph. We are a gluten, corn and dairy free home and will be hosting dinner this year (in less than 12 hours – ah!). I’ve prepared the most amazing appetizer & dessert spread – all which worked out to be vegan too! A lot of the guests are skeptical and have said they’ll leave hungry.

haha can’t wait to challenge them on that!


Jodie January 21, 2011 at 9:44 pm

We also can not eat gluten, dairy, corn. Would love to hear what all you made & the recipes for them! :)


Christin@purplebirdblog December 25, 2010 at 11:16 am

Marvelous cookies! I too prefer molasses cookies to gingerbread, and these definitely look delectable. Merry Christmas, Gena!


Howard From Seattle December 25, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Merry XMAS Gena! I read your article with much interest — not because of the vegan ginger cookies, but because of the mention of the vegan shepherds pie. Growing up I was a big fan of shepherds pie and I am hoping you will share the recipe for yours!

Speaking of recipes, may I challenge you as we head into 2011. Might you craft and share a recipe for a vegan version of stuffed cabbage rolls. That was another favorite and I’d love a quality vegan version. Thanks for considering my request.

Regards & Happy New Year, Howard


Pure2raw twins December 25, 2010 at 3:21 pm

oh yum!!

Merry Christmas girl!!! xoxo


bitt December 25, 2010 at 5:20 pm

those ginger cookies look great! I made some ginger vegan GF cookies and sent a batch to the family. hope they enjoy them. as i am sure your mom will love these.

merry christmas gena!


Danielle December 25, 2010 at 6:59 pm

YUM. Wishing you the merriest of merry Christmases! And a big, huge belated congratulations to the exciting new year ahead. Take care xo


Kim December 25, 2010 at 8:14 pm

I love ginger in my stir-fry. I favor a chewy cookie over a crispy one too.

I wanted to visit a vegetarian restaurant on the UWS today, but of course, it’s closed today. :(

Merry Christmas!


KRISTEN'S RAW December 25, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Merry Christmas – the cookies sound wonderful. I’m a big ginger and molasses fan. :)


Jen O December 26, 2010 at 1:33 am

Merry Christmas! I love making cookies and not telling others they are vegan until after they have tried them. I love ginger everything so I will certainly try these. Hope you had a wonderful holiday!


Rachel December 26, 2010 at 9:10 am

thank you for this, i’ve been having ginger cookie cravings ;). how might this taste with whole wheat flour? it’s the only flour i have at the moment.


Keia December 26, 2010 at 9:30 am

this is one of my favorite kinds of cookie! I will definitely need to try this…


Lauren December 26, 2010 at 12:21 pm

I hope you had a wonderful Xmas, dear Gena! These look delicious! Xoxo


Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day December 26, 2010 at 4:59 pm

I love those! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!


Ricki December 26, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Mmmm–one of my favorite kinds of cookies, too! I love the molasses in them. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas celebration, Gena! Big hugs! Ricki xo :D


Dorry December 26, 2010 at 7:49 pm

I love ginger cookies! I also enjoy the range you talked about in your blog posts. I am the same way on my blog – talking about very personal matters one day and posting photos of me decorating Christmas cookies with my nieces. In my opinion, it keeps things interesting!


mindy March 19, 2011 at 5:00 am

hi i really want to make these but have no clue what earth balance is and have not seen it in any of the South African stores. pls help.
Thanx Mindy


Barbara Quinn November 18, 2012 at 1:09 pm

This is almost identical to a recipe I used to make using 3 types of ginger (except when I used to make it years ago I used an egg and butter). This time I used your recipe, using flax seed instead of the egg and earth balance instead of butter and substituting powdered ginger, ginger root, and crystallized ginger for the cinnamon and nutmeg. They turned out great! Thanks.


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