Soft Chocolate Molasses Cookies Recipe

Overhead shot of crackled, sugar-coated chocolate molasses cookies

Serious Eats / Yvonne Ruperti

Why It Works

  • Melted butter reduces the cookie’s airiness and leads to a chewier texture.
  • Deflating freshly baked cookies by rapping the baking sheet on the counter or flattening with a spatula encourages dense centers.

In my shop, I always baked chewy molasses cookies, soft sugar cookies, and chocolate cookies. I never tried a combination of these three, but I'd always longed for it, this chewy chocolate cookie that didn't exist. Except that it did, right under my nose. Creating a chewy chocolate cookie is difficult to do, especially when you want the cookie to be super chocolatey. (Is there any other kind worth eating?) Cocoa is structureless, and when mixed with flour, it sort of waters down the capability of the flour to hold things together. The result is a cookie (or cake) that has a "short" texture that breaks apart easily.

I wondered if I could take a chewy ginger molasses cookie and incorporate cocoa in place of the hoards of spices which, in effect, don't offer any structure either. I wanted a soft cookie that had a dense, chewy center. The short answer: yes.

I added too much cocoa in my first try, and the cookies were too crumbly without enough structure. But after tasting them I realized that I really didn't even need that much cocoa—the combination of brown sugar and molasses already helped to add dark, roasty flavor. The second batch, with less cocoa, was perfect. To add to the chew, I used melted butter in the second batch which accomplished two things. First, less air in the butter means a less cakey cookie, and second, melted butter meant I could just stir it all up in a bowl instead of using a mixer. I also gave the cookies a good knock as soon as they came out of the oven. Deflating the puffed cookies while fresh created the dense, chewy middle that I was looking for. And of course, a little under baking always points toward your soft and chewy destination.

Beautifully cracked, crunchy around the edges, soft and chewy in the middle, and full of deep, caramelized, and chocolate flavor, I'd finally found my elusive chewy chocolate cookie.

Recipe Facts

Active: 20 mins
Total: 40 mins
Serves: 14 cookies

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Ingredients

  • 12 tablespoons (6 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) packed light brown sugar

  • 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/3 cup molasses

  • 2 cups (10 ouncesall-purpose flour

  • 6 tablespoons cocoa

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

Directions

  1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. In large bowl, whisk butter with brown sugar, ½ cup granulated sugar, and salt until combined. Whisk in egg, vanilla, and molasses.

  3. In medium bowl, whisk flour with cocoa and baking soda. Whisk into wet mixture until just combined. Chill until firm, about 10 to 20 minutes. Place remaining ½ cup sugar in bowl.

  4. Using scoop or ¼ cup measure, portion dough into balls and roll in sugar. Space evenly on pans and gently press dough balls to about ¾ inch thickness. Bake just until puffed and beginning to crack, 7 to 8 minutes, rotating pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking.

  5. Immediately after removing from oven, give pans a hard tap and gently press center of each cookie to deflate (see note). Let cookies cool on pan 2 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

To get a soft chewy cookie, slightly underbake the cookies. Giving the pan a hard tap and pressing on the cookies after baking will help to keep the centers dense and chewy.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
280 Calories
11g Fat
44g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 14
Amount per serving
Calories 280
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 6g 31%
Cholesterol 39mg 13%
Sodium 267mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 44g 16%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 27g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 30mg 2%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 156mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)