Moravian Molasses Ginger Spice Cookies, Gluten Free

Moravian Molasses Ginger Spice Cookies, Gluten Free. As good as the stuff you buy in a tin.

Used to be every year I’d wait impatiently for Williams Sonoma to get the holiday Moravian Ginger Spice Cookies in stock. I’d buy one tin (at a time) and we’d eat our way though them and have to go back for more. They were incredibly good though they were also ridiculously expensive. It never occurred to me to learn how to bake them in those long ago gluten eating days.

Though once we were gluten-free,  I’d still await the arrival of the tins and this time, I’d just visit them in their native habitat and pat them a little to let them know I cared.  It was pathetic and sad. And slightly creepy.

But this year I told myself this was it. I was going to learn to make them. How hard could it be? After all I tackled homemade GF croissants and won. These couldn’t be harder.

Famous last words.

When I began the process of testing the recipe, I found them to be annoying little cookies. The dough was finicky and sticky and totally uncooperative. It stuck to everything. It puffed. It cracked. And rolling out the dough gave me a whopping migraine, but then again you aren’t supposed to hit your head with the miscreant rolling-pin.

To be just like my favorite William Sonoma cookie made by the Salem Baking Company, you had to roll the dough so thin you could read through it. Anyone who has tried to roll anything gluten-free knows what I mean when I say it would be easier to do brain surgery – on myself – than to roll out gluten-free dough that thin.

But. I am here to tell you it can be done. And I finally found the secret. Chilled dough. And little tiny balls of dough smashed with a flat-bottomed glass are the remedy to that pesky rolling-pin.

Not only is it easy, it works quite well and you’ll still be in a good mood when you’re done. In no time everyone will be crunching away on ultra thin Moravian ginger spice cookies along with a large glass of spiked something.

Move over Williams Sonoma pricey holiday cookies. We’ve only just begun.

Moravian Molasses Ginger Spice Cookies, Gluten Free. Great cookies on a grate.

Moravian Molasses Ginger Spice Cookies, Gluten Free
Little thin Moravian Molasses Ginger rounds are one of my all time favorite holiday cookies. Depending on the brand of molasses you use - the cookie will be lighter or darker in color. Blackstrap unsulphured organic molasses will make dark cookies and Grandma's Molasses a lighter color. Both taste great. I like to dab little bits of royal icing or store purchased cookie icing (the stuff that hardens) and sprinkle with sugar for a festive look. Makes 65-80 cookies.
  • 260 grams AP GF Flour (130 grams superfine brown rice flour plus 65 grams each superfine white rice flour and tapioca flour/starch) (scant 2 cups)
  • 60 grams superfine granulated sugar (baker's) (1/3 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons ginger powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ heaping teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground mace
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • one or two turns of the pepper mill
  • 45 grams unsalted butter, chilled and cubed (3 tablespoons)
  • 175 grams unsulphured molasses (about ½ cup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Royal Icing or your favorite store cookie icing & colored sugar/GF sprinkles
  1. In the bowl of a food processor pulse together the flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, brown sugar, ginger, baking soda, cloves, mace,nutmeg, salt and black pepper until fully combined. Add the cubed butter and pulse until it looks like coarse crumbs. Add the molasses and vanilla. Pulse until the mixture is combined and it starts to come together in a ragged ball. It won't actually come together fully but it will look like very wet clumps of sand.
  2. Remove from the food processor onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Remove blade carefully. Knead the dough with the heel of your hand until it is smooth - a few turns should do it. Divide into two even pieces. Roll into logs and wrap tightly. Refrigerate for at least three hours and overnight is better - the flavors develop more.
  3. When ready to bake preheat oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.
  4. Remove one dough log at a time from the refrigerator. Break off a very scant teaspoon sized piece and roll into a small smooth ball.
  5. Place on parchment lined sheets about an inch or two apart leaving room to flatten them. Place a sheet of plastic wrap over the dough balls on the parchment. Using a very flat-bottomed glass or other utensil, press each dough ball flat. Once it is flat, press it again to flatten it even more. These are supposed to be as thin as possible. Make sure to keep the nice smooth round shape you began with. Don't try to remove the plastic wrap just yet. Refrigerate the sheet pan for about 10 minutes. After that the plastic wrap should peel right off without disturbing the dough. Remove plastic wrap and bake.
  6. Bake about 5 minutes and rotate pans. Bake about 3-4 minutes more. Remove when lightly brown. Cool on a baking rack thoroughly before decorating. Decorate with royal icing and sugar or sprinkles or leave plain.
Butter v. shortening: You can sub solid shortening for the butter. I did for a few of the test cookies. We thought it had a better flavor using butter and a crisper texture. If you use shortening it will be a slightly softer cookie. But it will work. Swap out tablespoon for tablespoon, and not gram for gram. More accurate.

Moravian Molasses Ginger Spice Cookies, Gluten Free. Got milk? We have cookies!


  1. Mmmmm. These look totally delicious. I’m glad you were able to conquer them!

    Sweet Tooth

  2. I work at W&S and i’m always saddened that all of their seasonal goodies ‘may contain traces of wheat/gluten’ so I can never try anything… though that may be good for my wallet. Anyway, I’m glad you’ve cracked this recipe and I’m excited to try them!

  3. Looks fabulos

  4. These look amazing, and also absolutely giddy making as they are one of my biggest missed goodies of the season since going GF. I think I’m going to have to give these a whirl this week! Thanks so much.

    One small suggestion – on another blog I stumbled across, the author was making the Italian holiday candy Torrone, and talked about it being imperative that you make them using edible wafer paper, else everything stick to, well, everything. I’m kinda wondering if that might just also happen to be a solution for sticky GF doughs. So many recipes call for the dough being rolled out on waxed paper, and even then it’s possible to have the dough stick and tear to IT when attempting to pull it off. What if you didn’t actually have to remove the paper? Just roll the dough between 2 wafers, cut out through the paper as desired, and simply pop the whole shebang onto a cookie sheet and bake. While it wouldn’t work for puffy/chewy doughs that are meant to expand, I can’t help but think it could work perfectly for dough MEANT to be thin and crisp. Does this sound like completely bilgewater, or do you think there might be a chance my addle-pated brain is on to something? Basically… would you, an amazing baker (as the lovelies I’ve been able to churn out since I bought your book proves!) think this is worth exploring? (No, not expecting you to do it, just wanting to get a 2nd opinion before I go all Mad Scientist and yell “To the Lab!” and make my husband play Igor. Again….)

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi Jenna – glad you’re enjoying the book. I probably would not use wafer paper, but it might work. I think it might impact the look of the cookie and even the flavor. But I’m not familiar with using so I actually don’t know. Give it a test if you like. Would be interesting to know. I love the Moravian Cookies, too. One of my favorites. Happy holidays!

  5. We made these and they were excellent! Making them again today. Such a great recipe, thanks so much.


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