Hi, friends! Welcome to yet another year of AK Cookie Week; I’m so excited that you’re joining me for another week of delicious cookie recipes — from indulgent to a little bit better for you, you’re bound to find a cookie recipe to inspire you in the kitchen.
We’re kicking off cookie week with these beautiful soft ginger cookies, a classic ginger molasses cookie with crispy edges and soft, chewy middles. But what really makes them special? They’re made with brown butter and topped with a deliciously sweet and tart lemon icing. YESSSSSS.
Ingredients in soft ginger cookies
These amazing, soft ginger cookies have delicious molasses flavor, cozy spices and hints of brown butter in every bite. Here’s what you need to make them:
- All-purpose flour: these cookies are made with regular, all purpose flour. I haven’t tested them with any other flours, so I would not suggest subbing any others. Try my paleo ginger molasses cookies for a gluten free option!
- Baking soda: to help these babies bake up properly.
- Spices: we’re using a mix of ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice & salt to give the cookies that perfect, cozy flavor.
- Butter: browning the butter makes these cookies extra special and enhances the flavor.
- Brown sugar: these cookies are sweetened with brown sugar & molasses for a rich flavor.
- Egg: you’ll need one egg in this cookie recipe.
- Vanilla extract: for a little boost of flavor.
- Molasses: the key to a true ginger cookie is using molasses. Blackstrap molasses has a wonderful flavor and is actually packed with iron!
- Granulated sugar: I love rolling the dough balls in some granulated sugar for a festive look!
Lemon icing for cookies
For the lemon icing, you’ll only need 3 ingredients: powdered sugar, fresh lemon juice & lemon zest.
The trick to the best lemon icing for cookies is to make sure it’s fairly thick so that you can create a glaze that doesn’t run off the edges too much. In fact, we want the icing to harden nicely, so a thick icing is always best. If you’re icing is too thin, simply add a few tablespoons more of powdered sugar to thicken.
How to brown butter
The key to these soft ginger cookies is the rich flavor of brown butter. If you’ve never browned butter before it can seem intimidating, but it’s easier than you think! Follow my tutorial here or get the basics below:
- Add your butter to a large saucepan. Once your butter begins to melt, start swirling the pan or whisking to promote melting.
- Next, begin whisking your butter. You’ll want to whisk it frequently and often! You’ll start to notice small bubbles.
- Finally, the butter will foam again and the bubbles will become smaller. Keep whisking! This is when the magic happens.
- You should smell a nutty, delicious aroma. The milk solids at the bottom of the pan will begin to darken and turn a light caramel amber color. Once this happens, immediately turn off the heat and continue to whisk, then transfer to a bowl. That’s it!
How to make soft ginger cookies
- First, whisk together your dry ingredients in a large bowl and set them aside.
- Next, make that delicious brown butter and set it aside to cool.
- Beat together your cooled brown butter, brown sugar and the rest of your wet ingredients.
- Slowly add in your dry ingredients and beat until everything is well combined. Chill your dough for 20-30 minutes.
- Next, roll your dough into balls, roll each ball in sugar, and bake for about 10 minutes.
- After you bake your cookies, make your lovely lemon icing. Dip the top of each cooled cookie in the icing and enjoy!
Tips for making soft ginger cookies
- Do not use substitutes. Please be sure to follow the recipe as-written unless substitutes are noted in the notes section of the recipe. Changing the flour will greatly affect the taste and texture of these cookies.
- Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature. After you brown your butter you’ll want to make sure that it is cool so that it doesn’t coagulate the other ingredients. The same goes for your egg — simply run an egg under warm water for about a minute (or place an egg in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes) before cracking your egg.
- Use fresh baking soda. Make sure your baking soda is fresh to ensure that these ginger cookies bake up properly.
- Measure your flour correctly. Do you know the best way to measure flour without a scale? Get my tips & tricks in this video!
Freeze your cookie dough for later
The great part about this cookie recipe is that the dough can be frozen for later!
- Roll your cookie dough into balls and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill the dough in the freezer for 30 minutes. This is known as a flash freeze.
- Once the cookie dough balls firm up, you can transfer them to a reusable freezer-safe bag or container. Cookie dough will keep well for up to 3 months.
- When ready to bake, simply bake the soft ginger cookies as directed in the recipe. You’ll likely just need to add a few extra minutes of baking time!
How to freeze soft ginger cookies
If you want to freeze ginger cookies that have already been baked, simply wait for them to cool completely, then transfer them to a reusable freezer-safe bag or container lined with wax or parchment paper. I like to place them in a single layer to avoid any cookies breaking. Cookies will keep well for up to 2 months. Once ready to eat, simply thaw out at room temperature and enjoy.
These ginger cookies can be frozen with or without the icing!
More holiday cookie recipes
I hope you love these soft ginger cookies with lemon icing! If you make them, be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked them. Enjoy, xo!
Soft Brown Butter Ginger Cookies with Lovely Lemon Icing
Traditional soft ginger cookies made a little extra special with the addition of brown butter, molasses and a lovely sweet and tart lemon icing. These chewy, soft ginger cookies are perfect with a cup of coffee for an afternoon treat and make the best Christmas cookies for sharing!
- For the dry ingredients:
- 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- For the wet ingredients:
- 3/4 cup butter (1 ½ sticks butter)
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup molasses
- For rolling:
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar, for rolling
- For the icing:
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (start with 1 tablespoon!)
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
Make your brown butter: add butter to a saucepan and place over medium high heat. The butter will begin to crackle and then after a couple minutes, foam. Make sure you whisk constantly during this process. After a couple of minutes, the butter will begin to brown and turn a nice golden amber color on the bottom of the saucepan. Continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes or until cool enough to touch.
With an electric mixer, beat the cooled brown butter and brown sugar until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and molasses until smooth and creamy. NOTE: Make sure your egg is at room temp before using! Just place in a bowl of warm water for 2 minutes.
Add the dry ingredients slowly and beat on medium low-speed just until combined. Chill dough in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes.
While your dough chills, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grab a heaping large tablespoon or so of dough and roll into a ball then roll in sugar. Place dough balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10-12 minutes. It’s best to underbake these just a bit, so 10-11 minutes is usually perfect. If you like cookies with a crispier edge, bake for about 12 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool the cookies on sheets about 5-10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack. They will still remain soft on the inside. Repeat with remaining dough.
Once cookies have cooled completely, you can make the lemon glaze: in a medium bowl, mix together the powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and lemon zest with a spoon. You may need to add more lemon juice to help reach the consistency you want for the icing, but it’s important that the icing isn’t too thin! Dip the top of the cookie in the icing, or spoon a little on top. Allow icing to harden, then enjoy! We love these with a cup of coffee. Makes about 20-22 cookies.
How to freeze soft ginger cookies
If you want to freeze ginger cookies that have already been baked, simply wait for them to cool completely, then transfer them to a reusable freezer-safe bag or container lined with wax or parchment paper. I like to place them in a single layer to avoid any cookies breaking. Cookies will keep well for up to 2 months. Once ready to eat, simply thaw out at room temperature and enjoy. These ginger cookies can be frozen with or without the icing!
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats