You’ll love the taste and texture of these Sourdough Molasses Cookies. Molasses and sourdough are a match made in cookie heaven! Perfectly spiced, seriously chewy with a crunchy, crackly top, these cookies develop an even more delicious texture days after being baked, which makes them perfect for gift-giving!
These cookies are another collaboration with my baking bestie Mimi Council. Mimi founded the very first organic bakery in the United States, which specialized in cookies when they first opened. So when we decided to collaborate, I knew I had to ask her to create a cookie recipe that would take full advantage of the unique qualities of sourdough discard. These cookies were it!
What makes these molasses cookies special
Sourdough Molasses Cookies are coated in cane sugar before being baked, this results in cookies with a crackly and crunchy crust. The addition of molasses creates an incredibly sweet and chewy texture. These cookies taste incredible fresh out of the oven, but their texture really transforms once they are fully cooled. They are even better days after being baked, becoming even chewier, almost candy-like and seriously delicious.
Five spice adds a kick to these cookies and makes them different from regular spice cookies. We usually keep whole spices at home, so I created my own five spice mix using cinnamon, star anise, szechuan peppercorns, cloves and fennel seeds. This combination of spices imparts a delicious warmth, a little spice and notes of licorice to these cookies. I include the recipe for my five spice mix here, but you can totally use your favorite store-bought brand.
Baking with sourdough discard
Sourdough discard adds a great tangy flavor that balances the rich sweetness of molasses. Since you are not using it to make bread, your sourdough starter does not need to be activated or fed for it to work in this recipe and you can use it directly from the fridge. Older discard will have a tangier, more acidic flavor than freshly-fed sourdough starter. Both will work for this recipe, you’ll get a slightly different result but your cookies will still be delicious!
Love sourdough discard cookies? Check out my Top 5 Sourdough Cookie Recipes.
Unsalted butter: Binds the ingredients, imparts richness and tenderizes these cookies. Mimi’s original recipe uses salted butter, but I wanted to test this recipe with unsalted butter as well since it's what most bakers have at home. I added a little bit more salt to my cookies and they ended up delicious. Salted butter does add a delicious flavor so, use it if you have it.
Cane sugar: Imparts sweetness and gives these cookies their characteristic crackly and crunchy exterior.
Dark brown sugar: Imparts sweetness and heightens the flavor of molasses.
Blackstrap molasses: Adds a rich flavor, sweetness and wonderful chewiness to these cookies.
Vanilla extract: Adds a floral flavor.
Sourdough discard: Imparts a delicious tang that balances the rich sweetness of molasses.
All purpose flour: The low protein content of all-purpose flour imparts tenderness while helping these cookies maintain their chewy structure
Chinese five spice: Makes these cookies so unique, imparts warmth, heat and a note of licorice. You can make your own or use store-bought.
Fine sea salt: Enhances the flavors of the rest of the ingredients
Baking soda: Leavens these cookies to create a light and chewy texture.
This cookie dough comes together in less than 15 minutes! While you will need a mixer to make this recipe it all comes together in one bowl.
1. Cream the butter, sugars, molasses and vanilla
2. Fold in the sourdough discard, flour, baking soda and spices
3. Use a small cookie scoop to measure out cookie dough
4. Coat cookie dough balls in cane sugar
5. Arrange cookie dough balls on baking sheet with room to spread
6. Bake cookies at 325 for 10 to 12 minutes
The prominent flavor in this cookies is five spice. The tang of sourdough really compliments the sweetness and strong flavor of molasses.
Absolutely! You can make this dough the night before you want to bake your cookies. Portion your cookie dough out and chill on a cookie sheet, but wait to coat your dough in sugar right before baking.
Freezing Instructions: For even longer storage, portion out your cookie dough and place the balls on a small baking sheet (no need to space them out). Freeze the tray uncovered, for 1 hour, once completely frozen, move the cookie dough to a ziplock bag and store for up to 3 month. Bake frozen cookie dough at 375 F for 12 to 15 minutes.
These cookies last up to a week stored in an airtight container at room temperature. While they taste amazing fresh out of the oven, they taste even better a few days after being baked. They develop a really nice and chewy texture but keep their crunchy texture thanks to the cane sugar coating.
Absolutely! Simply use the same proportion of freshly fed sourdough starter in the recipe. Your starter won’t add a strong tangy flavor to your cookies, but will still work.
If you don’t have a starter, but still want to try out this recipe, simply add 28 grams of all-purpose flour and 28 grams of water to your dough. The recipe will still turn out delicious, but you won’t have the tangy flavor of sourdough.
Yes! You can use your discard directly from the refrigerator for this recipe. Since you won’t be using it as a leavener, your starter does not need to be fed or activated for it to work.
Other sourdough cookie recipes you'll love
Did this recipe rise to the occasion?
We knead your feedback! Did our recipe impress your taste buds? Leave a star rating and write a review to help us create even better recipes.
I read all the comments and love hearing your feedback.
Chewy Sourdough Molasses Cookies
- baking sheet
- stand mixer or hand mixer
This section may contain affiliate links
- 113 grams unsalted butter softened
- 113 grams organic cane sugar
- 113 grams organic dark brown sugar
- 85 grams organic blackstrap molasses
- 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
- 57 grams sourdough discard
- 255 grams organic all purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon Chinese five spice
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 57 grams organic cane sugar
- 3 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 6 grams fennel seeds
- 3 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
- 5 star anise
- Cream the butter and sugars: Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, cane sugar, dark brown sugar, molasses, and vanilla extract. Mix on low until combined, then speed mixer up to medium and continue to cream the butter mixture for 5 minutes, until it is noticeably lighter in color.
- Make the dough: Add the sourdough discard, flour, Chinese five spice, baking soda, and salt in that order. Mix on low until combined into a stiff dough.
- Prep: Line one baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour the cane sugar for the topping into a bowl. Set aside.
- Portion out your cookie dough: Using your hands, or a 1 ½ tablespoon cookie scoop, form or scoop the dough into 22 balls and roll them in the cane sugar. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
- Chill dough: Refrigerate the baking sheet for at least 1 hour, or you can refrigerate overnight.
- Prepare for baking: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line another baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer half the cookie dough balls onto the second baking sheet, and space them all at least 1-inch apart.
- Bake: Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies look puffed and dry around the edges. Allow to cool completely on the baking sheets.
- Enjoy and store: These cookies are best enjoyed once they are fully cooled and are even better a few days after being baked. Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
- High Altitude: Bake at 375°F for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cookies look puffed and dry around the edges.
To make the five spice:
- Toast the whole spices in a small pan over medium high heat until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes
- Grind the toasted spices in a spice grinder until you have a fine powder
- Store excess five spice in an airtight container for up to 6 months
These recipes were developed and tested using grams for precise measurements. To increase your chances of success, I recommend investing in a kitchen scale. I've included rough volume estimates (in tablespoons and cups), but they might not be totally accurate.
Remember all ovens are unique, these recipes were tested in my oven which runs cooler than others. You might need to lower the temperature if your bake appears to be browning too quickly. Monitor your bake closely and make adjustments if needed.