Ginger-Molasses Cookies. Art or Science?

Giant Ginger-Molasses Cookies

Spicy yet rich. Chewy on the inside. Crisp at the edge. Almost as big as a salad plate. This is the kind of cookie that comes from not just a culinary genius, but a culinary artist with a deep understanding of chemistry. I’ll give the credit to LA Pastry Chef Brad Ray (the culinary scientist behind Los Angeles restaurant Antico’s impossibly smooth honeycomb ice cream). But he says in the LA Times the recipe for these Giant Ginger-Molasses Cookies was handed down to him in 2012 from Pastry Chef Mark Welker (of the NYC restaurants NoMad and Eleven Madison Park). Which only goes to prove my “mad” scientist theory.

I’m sure you know that good baking requires precision. This is a very precise recipe. On the first read I was tempted to say too precise. There are some steps that seem unnecessary. The know-it-all in me was tempted to skip the freezer and go straight to the oven. What could it hurt? Next I read that the burger-sized raw cookies go into the oven just three to a sheet pan. That might take all day, I thought. Perhaps I might like 32 medium-sized cookies better than 16 giant cookies? If I’m so hungry I can just have two, right?

And the molasses. The recipe calls for more than a cup. More than a cup? Nobody likes molasses that much! I should probably cut back on the molasses. Right?

Nope wrong. Because there’s science behind these work-of-art Ginger-Molasses Cookies. So don’t skimp on the molasses and make room in the freezer. The overnight chill is needed to “get rid of the chemical taste from the amount of baking soda that you need to counteract the molasses.”

See. Science.

As for their giant size– well, that’s what makes these cookies masterpieces. GREG

Giant Ginger-Molasses Cookies

Giant Ginger-Molasses Cookies 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 16Source LA TimesPublished
Giant Ginger-Molasses Cookies


  • 1 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 3 ½ cup (plus 2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (plus 2 tablespoons) unsulphured molasses (not blackstrap)
  • 3 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 6 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 7 cup bread flour
  • 2 tablespoon (plus ½ teaspoon) baking soda
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar (or more as needed)


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, combine the butter, sugar and molasses and beat on medium speed until fluffy and creamy, about 3 minutes. Using a large silicone spatula, scrape down the paddle and bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds between each before adding the next. Add the fresh and ground ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and salt and beat until well mixed. Drizzle in the vinegar and mix until incorporated. Scrape the dough off the paddle, then remove it from the stand mixer; scrape down the bowl as well.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of dough (it will look like all the flour won’t fit in your mixer bowl, but it will), then attach the dough hook to the mixer. Mix on low speed until all the flour is absorbed into the dough. Scrape the dough off the hook and scrape down the bowl. If you don’t have a dough hook attachment, stir the dry ingredients in with a wooden spoon and a lot of elbow grease.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a 4‑ounce cookie scoop or ½‑cup measuring cup, scoop out level portions of dough and arrange on the prepared baking sheets, spaced 1 inch apart. Using the palm of your hand, gently flatten each cookie roughly into ½- to 3/4‑inch-thick disk. Wrap the baking sheets in plastic wrap and place in the freezer overnight or up to 5 days.

Arrange oven racks in the upper and lower thirds, then heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets (at least 13 by 18 inches) with parchment paper.

Remove 6 cookie disks from the freezer. Pour the turbinado sugar into a shallow dish; then, working one at a time, coat the top, bottom and sides of each cookie in the sugar, pressing if needed to make the sugar adhere. Arrange 3 cookies on each baking sheet, spacing them out evenly; they will spread quite a bit.

Bake the cookies, rotating the baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom halfway through cooking, until they spread out and are deep golden brown at the edges, and light golden and just set on top, 17 to 18 minutes. The top of the very center will look slightly underdone, but this is normal; the cookies will continue to cook through slightly while they cool. As you take the baking sheets out of the oven, firmly rap them against the counter to deflate the cookies.

Transfer the baking sheets to cooling racks and let the cookies cool completely on the sheets. Repeat to bake the remaining cookies.